Can Eubank Jr Defeat Liam Smith?
by Steve Ashfield | by Steve Ashfield
Can Eubank Jr Defeat Liam Smith?
January 21 sees a fascinating boxing bout between British boxers Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith. It's being held at the Manchester Arena and the winner of this middleweight could well earn themselves a title shot later in 2023.
It's Eubank Jr who has the most to lose in this fight. He begins the new year ranked second by both the WBC and WBO and fifth in the WBA rankings. A win over Smith would certainly keep him in the hunt for a crack at the world title. The fight he seems to want most is with Gennadiy Golovkin who currently holds the IBF and WBA belts.
Golovkin is 40-years-old now and last time out lost to Saul Alvarez (more about him later). Eubank Jr of course fancies his chances of beating Golovkin if he can secure a title shot against the ageing champion.
2022 had a disappointing end for Eubank Jr (son of former world champion Chris Eubank) with his grudge fight against Conor Ben cancelled after his opponent failed a couple of drug tests. If Benn can sort out his problems and prove the innocence he proclaims, then that match could yet take place.
First though, Eubank Jr has to get past Liam Smith and that's not going to be the easiest of tasks. In many ways the British boxer has had a frustrating professional career. He turned pro in late 2011 but his only claim to a world title was when winning the IBO super middleweight title six years ago. That's not a title that is greatly respected by those in the game. Eubank Jr has held some interim titles but lacks that big win over a top ranked opponent in the division. You can look at the top 15 contenders in the middleweight division and he hasn't fought any of them. He's not getting any younger either and turns 34 in September.
His last fight was against Welsh boxer Liam Willams last in February 2022. That was won via a 12 round points decision with his opponent on the canvas four times. Like his controversial father, Eubank Jr comes out with some often rather agressive comments. He wanted to "punish" Williams and could most likely have stopped him rather than showboating. He certainly can't afford to do that against Smith who he has been making some unwanted comments in the build-up to this fight.
Smith Out to Make Eubank Jr Eat His Words
Whereas his opponent hasn't that many big names on his record, the same cannot be said of Liam Smith. The boxer from Liverpool has been a professional since 2008 and has three brothers who have also boxed professionally. He usually fights in the super welterweight (also known as light middleweight) division so he's stepping up in weight here.
Smith won several titles at British and Commonwealth level before starting to land some of the secondary titles such as the WBA Continental title. In 2015 he won the vacant WBA super welterweight title when beating John 'Apollo' Thompson and made two successful defences before facing the legendary Saul Alvarez and losing in nine rounds.
An attempt to win the WBO super welterweight title in 2018 failed when he lost on points to Jaime Munguia. Before that title challenge, he'd had two wins over Liam Williams, later to fight Eubank Jr.
He's had seven fights but didn't have any bouts between December 2019 and May 2021. When he did return, Smith lost to Magomed Kurnabov in a WBA International super welterweight title fight two years ago. Smith got title belts around his waist again winning the WBA and WBO International super welterweight titles. The latter was won against Jessie Vargas at Madison Square Garden in New York. His most recent fight was in September 2022 when beating Hassan Mwakinyo in four rounds.
Smith is ranked in the top five in the super welterweight divison. Now he steps up to middleweight determined to beat Eubank Jr and put himself in the middleweight title picture.
Statistics are always important to read as they can tell you a great deal about the event you wish to bet on. Here are some key statistics for this fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith
- Liam Smith turned professional three years before his opponent.
- Chris Eubank Jr has won 32 of his 34 professional fights.
- His only two losses have been to Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves.
- Chris Eubank Jr is unbeaten in his last six fights,
- 23 of his 32 wins have come inside the distance.
- Liam Smith has 32 wins, three losses and one draw,
- He's unbeaten in his last three fights.
- 19 of Smith's 32 wins have come inside the distance
TThis promises to be a fascinating fight between these two English boxers. Smith has been in with some good opponents, though the step up in class has often ended in defeat. Eubank Jr's top fights have tended to be against domestic opponents and here's another one. He is the favourite to win this, especially as he's a natural middleweight while his opponent has been fighting in the weight below this. A points win for Eubank Jr is the most likely result.