After a war of words, Liam Smith stunned Chris Eubank Jr as he knocked out his British rival in a brief and brutal battle for the ages… now, perhaps all that’s left for Eubank Jr is a controversial fight against Conor Benn
After the war of words. A brief and brutal battle for the ages. Liam Smith applied a violent exclamation mark to the most bitter grudge match in the recent history of the British ring.
Chris Eubank Jr was smashed to the canvas twice in one round and in truth was out on his feet when he was put to slaughter after staggering upwards from the first onslaught.
The stoppage, at one minute and nine seconds of the fourth, was a little late but inevitable. Even though he was in marginal ascendancy until the nuclear explosions to his chin, this crushing defeat may indeed leave his career and his talent unfulfilled.
Chris Eubank Jr (left) was destroyed by Liam Smith (right) in Manchester on Saturday
Eubank Jr was floored in the fourth round following a brutal uppercut by the Liverpudlian
The controversial fight with Conor Benn – so controversially delayed – could be all that is left for him at 33.
For Smith – just a year older but re-emerging as a boxer fresh and full of fire – the prospect of adding to his collection of world titles looks possible.
Eubank had said in the unpleasant build-up this week that if he lost to a fighter like Smith it would not be worth carrying on. Perhaps not.
But in the trough of defeat he did put in a forlorn plea for the rematch, for which there is a clause in his contract. Be careful what you wish for.
The referee finally waved the bout off following two heavy knockdowns with Eubank Jr unfit to continue
Eubank Jr was on his feet but swelling was already showing underneath his right eye
A controversial fight against Conor Benn may now be the only remaining option for Eubank Jr
After the homophobic c-word insinuations from Smith and the accusations of marital infidelity from Eubank amidst all the nastiness of the build-up, it was to be hoped that these two north-south polar opposites would pour their venom into a humdinger of a fight. They would not disappoint.
After all, behind the verbal spite, they were fighting for their futures in the hardest game.
To the winner another charge towards world title glory. To the loser a descent into celebrity fights and, perish the thought, some kind of veterans tour.
After the ugly verbal spar between the pair in the build-up to the fight, they did not disappoint in the ring
And if it were a draw, spare us, the prolongation of all that tiresome bitterness into a rematch. That, once the British Boxing Board of Control have decided how much to deduct from their ample purses for fouling the airwaves.
With thousands of Smith’s Liverpool fans making the short road trip to the northern powerhouse of Manchester, which so many of them despise, there was a worry that the angst might boil over in the sold-out AO Arena.
Certainly, the atmosphere as they came to the ring was febrile as well as largely hostile to the outsider from Brighton.
But then Chris Junior is accustomed to boxing away from home. At times he feeds off the animosity passed down by his eccentric, entertaining father, along with that legacy of ring glory.
For Liam The Third, of the four fighting Smith brothers, the family name was at stake.
Both fighters made sharp starts to the bout as Eubank Jr looked to impose his jab early
But it was Smith who celebrated the victory after Victor Loughlin was left with no choice but to intervene
A sharp start from both warmed them to the task, with Smith probably edging the first round exchanges.
With both overeager many punches went missing but Eubank was initially the more elusive and he imposed his jab in the second.
There was more variety to Eubank’s work and scored heavily with a series of right uppercuts in the third.
But what a transformation there was from Smith in the fourth, as he switched into overdrive and dropped Eubank with a right.
Junior staggered to his feet and his reeled about the ring referee Victor Loughlin was perhaps unwise to let him continue.
He lurched into another battery of punches and as he subsided a second time Loughlin rightly intervened.