Report: Eleider Alvarez-Joe Smith Light-Heavyweight Fight Set For July

The absence of a WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion has made things extremely interesting in the boxing world. As the sport looks to get back in the swing of things, ESPN and Top Rank will be looking to look for a new champion in the most creative of ways.

According to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith are set to face off on July 16. The winner of that bout would face the winner of Umar Salamov v. Maxim Vlasov to determine a new WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion. The title has been vacant since Canelo Alvarez beat Sergey Kovalev for the title in November 2019.

Alvarez (25-1) last fought in January, beating Michael Seals via KO in the seventh. He won the WBC Continental Americas Light-Heavyweight Title in the process. A former WBO-Light Heavyweight Champion, Alvarez lost the title to Kovalev back in February 2019 after initially beating him for it. “Storm” was rumored to be back in action early this May, but with no opponent named at the time.

Smith (25-3) is 2-2 in his last four fights. “The Irish Bomber” last fought in January, beating Jesse Hart via split decision. A former WBC International Light-Heavyweight Champion, Smith has only fought for a world title once. Back in March, the 30-year-old lost to Dmitry Bivol for the WBA Light-Heavyweight TItle.

Both have impressive power; Smith has 20 wins via knockout, including a TKO-win over Bernard Hopkins in 2016. Alvarez has 13 wins via knockout, taking out Kovalev at one point before the rematch.

The fight is expected to take place in Las Vegas. Top Rank recently announced its return to the state thanks to the Nevada Athletic Commission. The promotions first event back will be on June 9.

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