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‘The Irish Bomber’ Joe Smith Jr on retiring Bernard Hopkins – “I will make sure he exits my way”

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Irish-American light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr [22(18)-1(1)] has promised to inflict a decisive defeat on Bernard Hopkins and ensure that the legendary fighter retires from the sport.

Hopkins [55(32)-7(0)-2], who turns 52 next month, takes on ‘The Irish Bomber’ at The Forum in LA on December 17th on a card titled ‘The Final 1.’ The bout is intended to be ‘The Executioners’ last, and Smith stressed that he will make sure Hopkins keeps his word.

The New Yorker said that “we have been training hard and are ready for what is to come. I am mentally preparing for everything that Bernard Hopkins has for me. The date is almost here, and I am ready to put on a great show.”

“I am prepared to go 12 rounds, he is a tough guy. If I get the opportunity to take him out, I will do that. I go into every fight the same way; whether it is a legend or a nobody that is standing in front of me, they have the potential to hurt me. Each fight I push myself a little harder.”

Smith was plucked from relative obscurity earlier in the year, and would shock the boxing world with a first round stoppage of the World title chasing Andrzej Fonfara. The boxing builder is predicting a similar surprise on the card, which also features Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley, later this month.

The 27 year old outlined how “We are always training and preparing the same like we do for all our fights – I don’t do anything different. When the call came for the title fight, I was working for the labour union, and trained for two months straight and that resulted in a win. The same thing happened when I got the call for this fight.”

“I have been training in Long Island, so I have traveled to spar with different fighters throughout the area.”

Most feel that the aggressive Smith has been chosen as he is a perfect fit to the tricky veteran’s style, but the Long Islander himself notes how he is more varied than he is being given credit for. Smith explained how “I believe that I have some of the best jabs in boxing. Most of my fights end early, so I don’t get to show off my boxing capabilities. I think most people will be impressed by my boxing performance as I take on Bernard.”

“To fight someone well known like Bernard is a privilege. I will be bringing my best, and will make sure that he doesn’t return. I will make sure he exits my way.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie