Liam Smith vs Chris Eubank Jr 2 fight breakdown and betting tips
The Rematch – Repeat or Revenge?
224 days after their first fight and two months later than originally planned, Liam Smith (33-3-1, 20KO) and Chris Eubank Jr. (32-3, 23KO) will finally meet in the ring again in a highly anticipated rematch on September 2 at the AO Arena, Manchester, live on Sky Sports.
On paper, this practised pair couldn’t be any matched any closer, with three defeats each and just one win separating the two, and both former British and World champions well into their thirties now.
But stylistically, they couldn’t be further apart, which is what made the first fight so intriguing and the rematch even more anticipated.
In their first fight, on January 21, it was a close match. Rounds one and two were very even, but Eubank began to get into his stride in round three, flicking out jabs from his hip confidently and began to land right hands and uppercuts as Smith tucked up behind his hunched peekaboo stance and was found guilty of waiting too long to throw anything back.
He got a telling off in the corner from trainer Joe McNally and came out improved in the fourth to walk Junior down, bouncing on his toes, bobbing his head, then trapped his man in the corner and unloaded a variety of unanswered shots that saw two to three get through to deck Eubank heavily.
There was a right uppercut that almost took Junior’s head off then a crunching left hook to the temple that crumbled his legs from beneath him. Too cocky for his own good, Chris chose to look flashy and dodge the shots with his hands down instead of tucking up or holding, trying to replicate his legendary trainer Roy Jones Jr. It didn’t work. He wobbled towards referee Victor Loughlin who unjustifiably allowed him to continue even though he failed the appropriate checks. But one more attack and knockdown from Smith and the referee stopped the contest.
Complacent Eubank was humbled and confident Smith awarded all the plaudits.
Now 35, Liverpool’s Smith likes to fight at mid to close range. He has a very high guard, where he peeks over the top in a hunched position, feinting and slot-changing to draw the punches out from his opponents, where he aims to get inside and counter. It’s a style that has worked for him for 15 years and he has full confidence and belief in the way he boxes. What ‘Beefy’ doesn’t know about boxing probably isn’t worth knowing. His last four fights, since his controversial away defeat to Magomed Kurbanov in Russia, have all ended via KO.
‘Beefy’ has always been underestimated for his power but any sparring partner or former opponent will tell you he is a solid puncher. He is also underrated for his counter punching too.
33 from Brighton, Eubank is a tremendous athlete who likes to fight at long range, where he uses his long levers to flick out his jab and land big uppercuts and hooks. He is a flashy fighter, often holding his left arm low to flick it out upwards from his hip, but often with no weight behind it making a nuisance more than a threat.
It’s a fantastic clash of styles and contrast of characters, set to make for an entertaining night on the first weekend of September.
The first fight victor is favourite to win at 4/6 with Betway Sports and the conquered Chris Eubank Jr. is the slight underdog at 11/8. Odds for a draw are low at 16/1.
Eubank now has Brian “Bo Mac” McIntyre in his corner, who is famed for his outstanding work with two-weight undisputed superstar Terence Crawford.
Having had their pro debuts in 2008 (Smith) and 2011 (Eubank), you’d think that there was little capacity for change at this advanced stage of their careers, but Eubank is still evolving.
Under RJJ, he became an outside fighter, whereas before he was overly aggressive and a bit wild. You could argue that he was a lot more effective before Jones Jr reinvented him.
With “Bo Mac”, I believe we are going to see some new changes once more. If I had to guess, I would imagine McIntyre trying to turn that pesky jab that flicks up from his hip into more of a weapon. Instead of just tapping with it, add some weight and use it to cause gradual facial damage and pain.
This time, Chris won’t be underestimating Smith having felt his power from fight one. So you would expect the Brighton boxer to hold when he gets in close instead of trying to evade the shots Roy Jones-style.
Smith knows he has the power to hurt Eubank and stop him, so that will give him even more confidence than ever and an advantage, mentally.
He is already such a confident, patient, self-assured fighter, with a distinctive, definitive style sharpened over many years of gruelling training camps. He can box to instruction and stick to game plans; he never panics or unravels. His experience is evident to see every time he performs.
Smith will be the same man when that bell for the rerun goes, but Eubank will likely be improved, more switched on and sensible, so straightaway fans should be in for even more of a treat than before.
Smith to stop Eubank in rounds 6-12.