With a one-sided beating of Liam Smith — a legitimate title contender — Chris Eubank Jr. silenced his critics and reminded the world middleweight champion of his danger.
Smith, a former super welterweight world champion, went into Saturday’s rematch at the AO Arena in Manchester, England, on the back of four successful stoppage victories, including a fourth-round victory over Eubank in January. He hoped to beat Eubank again to set up a title shot against WBO middleweight world champion Genebek Alimkhanouli, but he was completely dominated by Eubank. Eubank threw an astounding 448 more punches than Smith, according to Compubox stats.
Eubank was much better than his display in their first encounter. With American trainer Brian McIntyre (who also trains undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford) in his corner for the first time, Eubank dictated the fight behind his jab and looked particularly dangerous with a right uppercut. He forced two knockdowns and showed enough that he would give any of the world champions — Jermall Charlo, Erislandi Lara, Vincenzo Gualtieri and Alimkhanuli — a tough fight.
However, going into the fight, Eubank was only ranked in the top ten by one of the four governing bodies (Eubank is No. 5 in the WBC’s latest rankings), so a world title shot may not be next.
And Eubank seems more interested in facing others, even though he has yet to win one of the four major world title belts.
I’m coming for you Connor [Benn]I’m coming for you Kel [Brook] Whoever wants it,” Eubank said after the fight. “I want to fight GGG [Gennadiy Golovkin]Let’s get it going.”
Eubank has been calling out Golovkin for years and the former middleweight champion once agreed to a fight. Golovkin is now 41 years old, his best days are behind him and he hasn’t fought since Canelo Alvarez unanimously outpointed him nearly a year ago. If he really wants that fight, Eubank may have to go to Golovkin’s home country of Kazakhstan.
What would be a bigger fight than Eubank vs. welterweight contender Conor Benn, if it was allowed to happen. Ben’s career is in crisis, and doubts still surround him about when he will be allowed to box in the UK again after he failed two drug tests which forced him to cancel his fight week against Eubank last year. If Ben gets the all-clear to box again, he will become Eubank’s no. 1 due to priority money UK The Ben-Eubank fight would be a repeat of their father’s rivalry in the 1990s and would garner interest beyond boxing fans.
Brook, 37, the former IBF welterweight champion, was ringside for Smith-Eubank 2 but will have to come out of retirement to face Eubank. Brook hasn’t fought since February 2022 and the 33-year-old Eubank has better fights to chase at this stage of his career, such as a world title shot.
Smith’s biggest fight is a trilogy fight with Eubank, unless he decides it’s time to hang up the gloves.
Smith, 35, from Liverpool, is ESPN’s no. 4 Middleweight, made two defenses as WBO Junior Middleweight Champion from 2015 to 2016. He faces the likes of Alvarez, Jaime Munguia, Jesse Vargas and Eubank. It’s been a great tail end to Smith’s career, but now may be the perfect time to retire.