Chris Eubank Jr banishes demons by stopping Liam Smith to cap off slick showing

Eubank Jr secured the TKO in Round 10, having dropped his rival moments earlier and in Round 4

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Sunday 03 September 2023 09:17 BST
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Chris Eubank Jr gained revenge against Liam Smith on Saturday, stopping his rival as the Britons returned to the scene of their first clash.

Smith dropped Eubank Jr twice at Manchester’s AO Arena in January before the referee waved off the middleweight bout, but the boxers’ roles were reversed on Saturday.

In the same building, it was Eubank Jr who dropped Smith twice before securing a TKO in the 10th round.

Eubank Jr, 33, looked the slicker fighter all night, switching targets between the head and body while picking his shots wisely. Meanwhile, 35-year-old Smith looked languid and was watching rounds slip away from the first bell.

The first knockdown came in the fourth round – the frame in which their first fight ended – as Smith was dropped to a knee and smartly spat out his mouthguard to buy time. In fact, he bought more than he might have imagined, briefly quelling Eubank Jr’s momentum.

When the action resumed, Eubank Jr sought a finish but – as it eluded him – he elected patience as the bout wore on.

Eubank Jr secures the first knockdown, in Round 4 (Action Images via Reuters)

In the 10th round, however, he put down Smith again with a left hook after a fast start to the round. Smith let out a deep breath as he rose to beat the referee’s count, with blood trickling from a cut above his right eye.

The Liverpudlian was only delaying the inevitable, however, as Eubank Jr backed him up to the ropes and unloaded shots, overwhelming Smith. Eventually, referee Kevin Parker stepped in to wave off the fight, sealing Eubank Jr’s redemption.

“It had to be [revenge], I had no other choice,” Eubank Jr said in the ring, after shaking hands with Smith, who applauded the Brighton-born fighter. “There are too many other big fights out there for me that the fans wanna see me in – and that I wanna be involved in.

Smith after the second knockdown, in Round 10 (Action Images via Reuters)

“Liam is a warrior, I respect him and his whole team, his family – his brothers. He fought until the last second. Big up to Liam and his team.

“What happened tonight was supposed to happen in January, but it wasn’t my night.

“I’m not a bad guy. I know I got booed when I came in here, there’s a few cheers now – which I appreciate. I’m turning a few people around.”

Eubank Jr unloads punches, moments before the end of the bout (PA)

Eubank Jr also called out the retired Kell Brook, who was sat at ringside, and Conor Benn, whom he was due to box last October before Benn’s failed drug tests were revealed. Eubank Jr also named Gennady Golovkin as a desired opponent.

Meanwhile, Smith suggested that he had rolled his ankle early in the fight, which marked Eubank Jr’s first outing under Brian “BoMac” McIntyre, who also coaches Terence Crawford, and admitted it wasn’t his night.

Smith said: “Everything from start to finish (went wrong). I was just flat from the start. Chris was sharp. That’s all I can say about it really. I shout when I win, I take my defeats when I lose.”

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