Via Barry Holbrook: Chris Eubank Jr will face former WBO middleweight champion Liam Smith on January 21 on Sky Sports Box Office from the AO Arena in Manchester, England. Eubank Jr vs. Smith was announced earlier today.
For Eubank Jr, this is a substitute for his match with welterweight Conor Benn.
The message some boxing fans will get from this bout is that Eubank Jr. more interested in fighting opponents in weight classes below him than going up against boxers of his size and developing his career.
Some would say that Eubank Jr is not focused on trying to win the world title and just wants to make money in front of local players, especially if they are smaller than him.
In fact, it was a step back for Eubank Jr after some of the skirmishes he’s been involved in lately, but it was still a decent match.
It would have been better at this late stage in Eubank Jr’s career to fight high-ranking middleweights like Jaime Munguia than to drop down to 154 lb to face a fading Liam Smith, but it was a business battle for him.
It was a questionable move for event organizers to book the Eubank Jr vs. Smith on the Sky Box Office PPV because it’s basically a fight at the domestic level and NOT a fight that has anything to do with the world stage.
It’s a small domestic scrap, but this fight isn’t a stepping stone for either of them to win the world title, which is why it’s not a pay-per-view.
Eubank Jr-Smith is a fight that has been going on for at least a decade and is a bit late in the game for the fight to take place.
As the saying goes, ‘better late than never’, but too bad the clash wouldn’t have happened eight to ten years ago rather than at this point in their careers.
Smith (32-3-1, 19 KOs) has won his last three games, beating Hassan Mwakinyo, Jessie Vargas and Anthony Fowler. Before that, Smith was defeated by Magomed Kurbanov and Canelo Alvarez.
After Liam’s loss to Kurbanov in 2021, his career was over, but he recovered with three wins in a row, albeit against lesser opponents, but it’s great that he was back on the road to victory.
Eubank Jr, 32, recently missed a chance to develop his career when his opponent, Conor Benn, tested positive for banned substances, knocking their big fight out on October 8.
Promoter Kalle Sauerland insists that Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KOs) will still face Benn at some point once he is allowed to fight again.
Kalle Sauerland said: “In big news, Chris Eubank Jr will take on Liam Smith on January 21 on Sky Box Office from Manchester Arena. iFL TV.
“I am happy to put it first for Team Eubank Jr. This is a big event and it deserves the time to promote it. It was a big year. We had a hell of a year.
“It’s been talked about since we signed the juniors. It features the work of a British blockbuster. Sky Sports box office, January 21, at Manchester Arena.
“We looked at a lot of midsize options. There’s Munguia, Felix Cash. There are some great battles out there. The [Conor] Benn war is inevitable [for Eubank Jr]provided that Benn is cleared for whatever they do, but we can’t wait.
“They have to organize their things. It’s a case that needs to be heard. I believe that is in progress. At the same time, we are Team Eubank and we must move on.
“We have a strategy for the year, but you can’t ignore someone like Liam Smith. It was a tough, tough fight. It’s a fight that fans have been calling for. I have had a long history with the Smith family in terms of winning and losing. This fight has something very special about it.
“It’s a bit early. The ink has just dried,” Sauerland said when asked about Eubank Jr’s extra card versus Smith’s. “They don’t get better than this. I’m sure it will be a great build and a great fight.