Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom spoke about this Saturday’s Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith fight, what fights he wants to make in 2023, and his thoughts on KSI’s Misfits Boxing events.
“This year I want to make Taylor-Catterall 2, Billy Joe Saunders-Eubank 2, Shields-Marshall 2 and Okolie-Riakporhe,” he said.
We already know that Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall 2 is happening on March 4 in Glasgow, so that’s set, and the road to Okolie vs Riakporhe looks relatively clear. Richard Riakporhe fights Krzysztof Glowacki on Saturday, and Boxxer are looking to have Lawrence Okolie fight David Light in March, which would put them close enough on schedule to fight later this year for sure, provided both win.
Shields vs Marshall and Saunders vs Eubank rematches may be a bit tougher to put together. Claressa Shields has stated that she’ll take a Savannah Marshall rematch if the money’s right and the fight is in the United States, though the money being right enough could surely lure her back to the UK, where being honest, the fight was bigger the first time than it would have been here, and the same would go for the rematch.
Billy Joe Saunders, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since his May 2021 loss to Canelo Alvarez. There have been rumblings about the former 160 and 168 lb titleholder fighting again, but nothing has happened.
As for Saturday’s bout between Eubank and Smith, Shalom brushed off Roy Jones Jr’s claim that Smith is not really a challenge for Eubank, and that he was more worried about last year’s scrapped Conor Benn fight.
“Smith is a much better boxer than Conor Benn and is probably a much better boxer than Eubank Jr,” Shalom said. “He’s a former world champion. Smith has done much more in his career than Eubank Jr, it’s a tougher fight than Conor Benn.”
At the moment, DraftKings Sportsbook have Eubank the favorite at -290, with Smith a +225 underdog, for what it’s worth.
Shalom also weighed in on the the Misfits Boxing craze, which saw another successful event last weekend at London’s OVO Wembley Arena.
“It’s dangerous to call the Misfits card ‘boxing’ — it’s entertainment, it’s celebrity white collar, but make sure it’s not called boxing because it’s not. It’s confusing and misleading and a bit of a freak show,” he commented.
“I’ve not got anything against it, it what it is. I don’t have anything against it. But it’s entertainment for their followers. If they were playing football, golf, or swimming they’d have a sold out arena, the people are coming to watch them.
“I think it’s a bit funny when boxing media are covering it because it’s not boxing. I’ve nothing against these guys, but just be upfront about it, it’s celebrity white collar.”