In the co-main event, top contender Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti will meet Lateef Kayode in a 10-round cruiserweight attraction. Smith and Tabiti, both Las Vegas residents, will be fighting on their home turf and looking to impress their hometown fans.
Tickets for the event, which is being promoted by Mayweather Promotions, begin at $25, are on sale Monday, April 23 at 12 p.m. PT and will be available at www.samstownlv.com/entertain.
“Mayweather Promotions has had a busy year thus far and the momentum isn’t slowing down with May 11th at Sam’s Town Live right around the corner,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This venue is certainly one of the local properties that we enjoy working with and have made it our home over the past few years.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing Ishe Smith back in the ring after the stellar performance that he put on against Julian Williams to close out 2017. I know that he is physically and mentally prepared to take on Tony Harrison and will not disappoint. Andrew Tabiti is a young talented fighter that is on track to have a bright future. He will look to build upon his flawless record in the co-feature against Lateef Kayode on May 11.”
The 39-year-old Smith (29-9, 12 KOs) became the first Las Vegas-born boxer to win a world championship when he defeated Cornelius Bundrage for a super welterweight title by majority decision in 2013. He lost the title by split decision to Carlos Molina in his next fight before earning another title shot against Erislandy Lara in 2014, that he lost lost by decision. Smith most recently dropped a competitive contest on Bounce against Julian Williams last November.
“I picked up right where I left off from my last fight. I’m back in camp. I didn’t take any time off since my last fight,” Smith said. “This will be the second fight in a row where I am bringing in a strength and conditioning coach. I credit my strength & conditioning coach, who played a major role in my last performance being one of my career best. It was no question, before I had a date I was back working with my team. I feel younger, I feel great – I’m the modern day Benjamin Button. I felt great in my last fight and I’m going to continue to bring it.
“I don’t feel like I’m approaching 40, I actually feel younger and in the best shape of my life. This camp I’m focused on not leaving anything into the judges hands like last time. I can’t allow another bad call against me. It’s time for me to make a statement, dominate, and get this guy out. I don’t know much about my opponent, but I’m going to make him fight my fight.”
Harrison (26-2, 21 KOs) is a heavy-handed 154-pound contender from Detroit, Michigan who has put together two strong victories since suffering a KO loss to unified super welterweight champion Jarrett Hurd in 2017. Harrison most recently scored a KO victory over George Sosa on Feb. 17 in El Paso.
“It’s about time for me to get back into the loop. This is a tough fight against Ishe, who is coming off of a good performance for himself against Julian Williams,” Harrison said. “I’ve been wanting to fight Ishe since my early days as a pro, and this is exactly the kind of fight that I need. This is definitely going to be a good one.
“Ishe is almost 40 years old, but that makes no difference to me. Ishe’s been a world champion, and in order for me to become a world champion, I’ve got to go through one. It’s a difficult task, and there is definitely no way that I’m taking Ishe lightly. I’m the ultimate competitor, and there’s not a fight in the world that I wouldn’t take. I’m ready to lay it all on the line in this fight, and that’s what makes it all worthwhile when I get the win.”
Tabiti (15-0, 12 KOs) has used his punching power to make a steady climb up the cruiserweight ladder. The 28-year-old, who was born in Chicago and now lives in Las Vegas, took a major step forward in his last fight when he scored an impressive unanimous decision victory over former world champion Steve Cunningham on Aug. 26. A win against the veteran Kayode will further solidify his position among the top cruiserweight contenders.
“My last fight I showed everyone that I’m a smart boxer,” Tabiti said. “I think a lot of guys expect me to just go in the ring and knock guys out but I feel like it’s important to show that I’m versatile. I can box with you or I can use my power and get a guy out.
“This camp, my goal is to focus on targeting the body plus using the IQ I gained from my last camp and fight. This guy is older, he’s coming off two losses, he’s on his way out, but I can’t overlook him. My last opponent was a lot older so I’m going to take the tools and experience and put it all together to bring the fans a great performance.”
The 35-year-old Kayode (21-2, 16 KOs) is looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses, including a unanimous decision loss to Keith Tapia in his last fight on Sept. 23. Kayode, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria and now lives in Hollywood, California, dropped down to cruiserweight after his match against heavyweight Luis Ortiz was declared a no contest due to Ortiz failing his post-fight drug test for performance enhancing drugs in 2014. His last victory was a unanimous decision against Nick Kisner in 2015. That paved the way for a shot at the cruiserweight world title later that year, which he lost by knockout to Denis Lebedev.
“Tabiti has absolutely no experience compared to me and his opponents have been less than formidable,” said Kayode. “I will show him why I’m in a completely different class of fighter!”