Eubank felt he ‘could have kept going’ | Froch raises retirement fears


Few could have predicted that Liam Smith would beat Chris Eubank Jr in the manner that he did.

Smith was stepping up from super-welter to middleweight, against an opponent in Eubank Jr who was known for his toughness and potent combination punching.

But in an extraordinarily intense contest at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, it was Smith who rapidly broke down Eubank Jr.

In the fourth round, he demolished Eubank expertly, a perfectly weighted sequence of punches crumpled the Brighton man on to the canvas and Smith never let him recover.

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Carl Froch and Johnny Nelson agree that the middleweight division isn’t for Chris Eubank Jr, but the pair don’t think he’ll retire after the defeat to Liam Smith

The result was conclusive but Eubank, despite being hurt and stopped for the first time in his career, signalled he wanted to trigger the rematch clause and fight Smith again.

Eubank Jr tweeted: “Congratulations to Liam tonight, nice lil shot you caught me with there, my boy. Felt like I could have kept going but referee is in charge and I respect his decision. We’ll get it on again soon.”

Smith is prepared to fight his rival once again, but next time in his Liverpool hometown.

He will though let Eubank Jr take his time. “I think he’s probably going to have to tweet about it and have to talk about it right away. It’s kind of an ego and a pride thing. He’s not going to say, ‘Well, I don’t want that rematch, I’ve just been knocked out,’” Smith reflected.

“But we might get a different answer when he’s sat and thought about it and watched it back.

Chris Eubank Jr
Image: Chris Eubank Jr will have to decide his next move

“He’ll sit down with his team and his family and he’ll decide if he wants that rematch. If he wants that rematch I’ll give him it.

“I beat him once so I’ll beat him twice.”

All Smith wants next is a fight at Anfield, Liverpool’s football stadium, regardless of who the opponent might be.

“It puts me in a good position now, with Chris’ ranking at 160lbs. I can go back to 154lbs if necessary, we’ll see what happens,” he said of the victory.

“But we’ll see who becomes available and what’s right for me, my team and my family.”

What next?

Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch wonders if Eubank could retire.

“I don’t know how he’s done the weight or if it’s a problem for him, but at 33 years old, middleweight may not be for him. Where does he go from here? That could be curtains on his career. I don’t want to say he should retire now. It was a bad defeat,” Froch said.

“Where does he go now? Middleweight or super-middleweight? Regardless of the weight, I don’t think we should take away from what a magnificent performance it was from Liam Smith.

Chris Eubank Jr, Liam Smith
Image: Liam Smith was the smaller man but applied the pressure

“He took his time from round one, he won round one and round two on my card, bit of a bad round three. Liam Smith, I thought he had a great start and he was landing more punches and he was putting Chris Eubank on his back foot and controlling and dictating the pace round the ring.

“Then when he started to land shots, it was fight over.”

Former cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson points out that Eubank Jr will still have options.

“There’s fights out there. Look at this place [the Manchester Arena], this place was absolutely rocking. They could do that again. They could do that again at Anfield, wherever it is. But he’s got to think about what weight he’s going to carry on boxing at and what his dreams are,” Nelson said.

Smith turns away with Eubank in the corner
Image: Smith turns away with Eubank in the corner

Eubank Jr could use the rematch clause in their contract to trigger a second fight with Smith. But Smith has opened the door to other high profile fights in the future too.

Current unified super-welterweight champion Natasha Jonas said of Smith: “Either you do the rematch or you have another big name. He’s proved tonight he’s that world level.”

Carl Froch agreed. “I think what he might be looking at now may be just getting some money in the bank at the end of his career. A [Gennadiy] Golovkin fight whether or not he’s still fighting, a big name, filling this place, what an amazing atmosphere it was.

“Since Amir Khan-Kell Brook I haven’t felt that kind of anticipation and atmosphere. So he deserves another big fight at least and I don’t think it needs to be for a world title. I think it just needs to be a big name.”

Repeats of Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith are on Sunday January 22 at 8am and 3pm. Book it now if you are a Sky TV subscriber or a Non-Sky TV subscriber.

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