Chris Eubank Jr fully got his revenge on Liam Smith today, but the fight was clearly not what any fan was hoping to see, as Smith seemed hobbled and immobile for the entire fight, unable to do much of anything or present any resistance.
Eubank (33-3, 24 KO) got the 10th round stoppage after referee Kevin Parker had seen enough of Smith (33-4-1, 20 KO) being unable to respond to Eubank flurries, even if they weren’t coming with a ton of clean shots landing.
The official time of the TKO was 1:45 of round 10. At the time of the stoppage, Bad Left Hook had Eubank up 90-80, as he had a fourth round knockdown for a 10-8 round.
It was clear fairly early to anyone watching that Smith, 35, was having an issue with at least one leg, looking stiff and unsteady. The Sky Sports commentary got around to really talking about it in the seventh round.
In reality, this fight closely resembled the Bellew vs Haye rematch from 2018, where Haye came in clearly not in fighting shape and was stopped in the fifth round. Like that one, this was a pay-per-view, and you may take that into account when wondering why the commentary didn’t seem to want to acknowledge that one of the fighters clearly was not near 100 percent.
For the entire fight, Smith really had nothing coming back for the 33-year-old Eubank. Eubank seemed to read it well and early. He would always tie Smith up quickly when the two actually got close, taking away the one and only bit of real estate where Smith had any change to land anything at all.
“It had to be (revenge). I had no other choice. There’s too many other big fights out there for me that the fans want to see, that I want to be involved in,” Eubank said. “I had to beat Liam tonight. I threw so many punches the lettering on my shorts fell off, it’s incredible.
“But listen, Liam is a warrior. I respect him, I respect his whole team and his family, his brothers. They always come out, they always put it all on the line. He didn’t give up. He fought to the last second. So yeah, big up to Liam and his team.”
Asked why he was so much better tonight than in January, Eubank said, “I’m not going to lie. What happened tonight was supposed to happen in January, but it wasn’t my night. I trained hard for that fight, I trained hard for this fight. The focus is always there. I dedicate my life to this sport. Now we’re on to bigger and better things.”
Eubank called out Conor Benn and Kell Brook, and denied that he had a different preparation or mindset for this fight. “I had to prove to the fans that I am who I say I am. I’m not a pretender, I’m not a fake. I do the things I say I’m going to do.”
“Everything start to finish (went wrong). I was just flat from the start,” he said. “I think the weight killed me a little bit after the injury. I was just flat from the get-go, and Chris was sharp. That’s it, that’s all I can say, really.”
“I couldn’t move my feet, and when I did, I rolled my ankle,” he said when asked about any injuries. “It’s just one of them things. Chris was the better man tonight. I shout when I win, I’ll take my defeat when I lose.”
Smith vs Eubank Jr 2 highlights
We will hopefully be able to add some better highlights later, when Sky consider getting out of 2004. You either sold the fight or didn’t by now, folks. Show people what happened.
Another memorable ring walk from Liam 'Beefy' Smith pic.twitter.com/6d6f4duIoY— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) September 2, 2023
RESPECT! Chris Eubank Jr & Liam Smith embrace pic.twitter.com/DWXZevbRf7— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) September 2, 2023
Undercard highlights and results
- Adam Azim UD-10 Aram Faniyan (98-92, 99-91, 100-90): The scores will make you think this was easy if you didn’t see it. It was not easy, but the scores aren’t terrible, either. I also had it 98-92 unofficially, but Azim (9-0, 6 KO) had to earn this one all the way, Faniyan (23-2, 5 KO) was an excellent choice of matchmaking and gave Azim a lot to think about and some good schooling. This is the sort of fight a prospect can really learn from, and the hope will be that Azim, having cleared the hurdle deservedly, will get better because he took a legitimate test.
- Frazer Clarke RTD-6 David Allen (3:00): An ugly fight, with Clarke (8-0, 6 KO) deducted two points for repeated low blows, which were questionable but called, and he kept going back to the same thing and flirting with a DQ. But Allen (21-6-2, 18 KO) called it quits after the sixth round, with a perforated eardrum the given reason, he had blood in his mouth and there was some thought it could be a jaw issue, but then he was talking a lot post-fight in the ring with Clarke. It didn’t seem truly contentious, really, but also not friendly. More just airing it out, I think. I have always liked David Allen, but he didn’t seem to have much left. Clarke doesn’t exactly inspire visions of world championship glory, but we’ll see — sometimes guys really do show something you didn’t know they had when the fights get tougher.
- Jack Cullen KO-3 Mark Heffron (2:43): Big knockout here, and Cullen now has the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles. Hard not to just be thrilled for “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver,” who has kept plugging away and now has achieved something so many UK fighters dream of when they go pro. Cullen (22-4-1, 10 KO) was boxing pretty well, using his height a bit, and then Heffron (29-3-1, 21 KO) had just a bit of looking like he was getting into it when he got caught throwing a bit wild, bang on the chen! And that was that. Heffron was down, tried his best to get up, but the legs gave out and it was over.
- Mikaela Mayer PTS-10 Silvia Bortot (100-90): A stay-busy fight for Mayer as she moves up in weight, went roughly as expected. Bortot (11-3-1, 3 KO) is a legit pro and gave a solid effort, but Mayer (19-1, 5 KO) is just better than her, simple as that. Mikaela, again, is planning to move up to 147 fully (she was just over 141 here) and has her sights set on a title fight with Natasha Jonas. Mayer also reiterated that desire, with Jonas on commentary tonight. She not only doesn’t have a problem fighting in the UK, where women’s boxing is bigger than here, she seems to have a real enthusiasm for it.
- Florian Marku TKO-1 Dylan Moran (0:54): Well, Marku-Mania is back! Whatever trash talk during fight week, these two buried the hatchet when it was over, with Marku (13-0-1, 8 KO) showing Moran (18-2, 8 KO) a little respect. Moran was trying to establish some range with his jab, but then Marku rocked him a little with a sudden shot, and while Marku may not be a clinical finisher, he is a finisher. The Albanian pounced and got Moran out of there in under a minute. Marku called out Conor Benn, a Matchroom fighter, and Kell Brook, who is semi-retired and unlikely to return for a non-payday, in his quest for a big fight. Might want to broaden the search, my guy. Ben Shalom appeared to be whispering “Josh Kelly” at Marku while Marku was doing his callouts.