By Stephen Tobey: Fighting for the first time in 11 ½ months, light heavyweight Joe Smith, Jr. stopped Melvin Russell in the first round of a scheduled 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, June 30.
Smith (24-2, 20 knockouts) dropped Russell, of Ashland, Ky. twice before referee Steve Willis stopped the fight at 1 minute and 45 seconds of the first.
The first knockdown came on a three-punch combination, a right, a left hook to the body and another right hand that dropped Russell near his corner. Russell lost his mouthpiece during the attack, buying himself a little more time.
“I hit him with a decent shot while I was walking him down,” Smith said. “After that, I was looking to land the big shot and get him out of there.”
Russell kept Smith’s left clamped to his right side for a few seconds after the knockdown, while Smith landed more right hands. Once Smith got his left free he landed more body shots, putting Russell on his knees with a right uppercut, ending the fight.
Smith, of Mastic, N.Y., was in his first fight since his July 15, 2017 decision loss to Sullivan Barrera.
“I was disappointed in that fight,” Smith said. “I felt I could have gotten him out of there, but with an injury to the jaw, I was at 40 percent.”
Russell left the ring at 11-5-2 (7).
Smith is hoping to face World Boxing Organization champion Sergey Kovalev in an upcoming fight.
“We wanted tat fight now,” said Smith’s promoter, Joe DeGuardia. “Now we’re looking for it in the fall.”
Said Smith, “I’ll take what’s available, but I think Kovalev is the best out there. I feel like my conditioning will be an advantage in that fight.”
Kali Reis of Providence, R.I. rebounded from her loss to Cecilia Braekus with an eight-round unanimous decision over Paty Ramirez of Aguas Calientes, Mexico in a welterweight bout. Peter Hary, Don Trella and Steve Weisfield scored it 80-72. Reis (14-7-1, 4 KO s) stayed at a close distance and landed the overhand right almost at will. Ramirez dropped to 11-7 (5) Anthony Laureano of East Hartford, Conn. outpointed Juan Rodriguez of Haymarket, Va. at junior welterweight. Don Ackerman and Dick Flaherty scored it 59-55. Peter Hary scored it 60-54. The two fighters stayed at close range for the entire fight and traded hard shots. Laureano landed the straighter punches and used head and trunk movement to avoid most of the return fire. Laureano improved to 8-0 (3); Rodriguez dropped to 8-10-1 (6).
Junior middleweight Wendy Toussaint of Huntington, N.Y. stopped Andy Gonzalez of Worcester, Mass. in the third round of a scheduled six. Toussaint (9-0, 3 K Os) dropped Gonzalez in the second and finished him in the third with a series of overhand rights with Gonzalez on the ropes. Steve Willis stopped the fight at 1:25. Gonzalez dropped to 6-3 (5).
Joe Farina of Boston survived a first-round knockdown to win a four-round split decision over Steve Moore of Orange, N.J. at junior middleweight. Steve Weisfeld and Don Ackerman scored it 39-37 for Farina (5-0, 2 KO s); Peyer Hary scored it 39-37 for Moore 1-4 (1).
Larry Fryers of Yonkers, N.Y. won a six-round unanimous decision against Anthony Woods of Phladelphia at junior middleweight. Don Trella and Dick Flaherty scored it 60-52 and Steve Weisfield scored it 59-53. Fryers, who legally changed his last name from Gleeson, improved to 7-1 (2). Fryers dropped Woods with a left hook with 10 seconds left in the second. Referee Dan Schiavone deducted a point from Woods in the sixth for a push. Woods dropped to 1-7-1.
Heavyweight Cassius Chaney of New London, Conn. stopped Elder Hernandez of Morelia, Mexico in th first round of a scheduled six. Chaney (13-0, 7 K Os) dropped Hernandez twice. The second knockdown came several seconds after Chaney hit Hernandez with a hook to the body. Hernandez took a knee and referee Steve Willis stopped the fight at 2:47. Hernandez dropped to 5-3 (3).
Junior lightweights William Foster of New Haven, Conn. and Tyrome Jones of South Bend, Ind. Saw their bout a no contest at 2:27 of the second round in a scheduled six. Jones sustained a cut over his left eye after a clash of heads. Foster’s record is 6-0 (6) 1 no contest; Jones is 4-3-1 (1), 1 no contest.