A real life Cinderella Man

UCOMM's Kris LaGrange sits down with Joe Smith Jr., union laborer and boxing champion

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jul 01, 2016

On June 18th, Laborers Local 66-member Joe Smith Jr. shocked the world by knocking out the WBC Light-Heavyweight International Champion Andrzej Fonfara just minutes into the first round.  The fight, which was part of the Premier Boxing Championship, was shown on NBC and seen by 1.76 million viewers.  Smith was described before the fight as Long Island’s version of the “Cinderella Man,” a boxer who works construction during the day and fights as the working man’s fighter.  The commentators couldn’t get enough of the fact that Smith was working construction just a few days before the fight and would be going back doing demo work following the fight. 

The fight was also a great showcase for the support that Laborers Local 66 has given him. After the victory, NBC cut to the Laborers 66 website, a UCOMM product, while asking Smith about how excited the union must be.  Local 66 was at their union hall in Melville watching the fight. 

After the fight, Joe faced a whirlwind of interviews from all across the country. Instead of taking time off to celebrate, Joe went back to what he loves to do, demolition.  Throughout his boxing career, he has supported his daughter and continued his boxing training while working as a laborer on numerous construction projects across Long Island.  When UCOMM asked Local 66 Business Manager Steve Flanagan if Smith would now get light duty, he told us that “Smith would never take it, he likes the hard work.”  This intrigued us, so we set up a sit down interview with the Champ to find out more about Joe Smith Jr.- the union laborer, a father and a boxer.  Enjoy the highlights from the fight and our interview.

Sign up for our e-Newsletter!