Chris Eubank Jr. dished out a dominant serving of revenge with a one-sided beatdown of middleweight rival Liam Smith in Manchester.
In January, Smith knocked out Eubank in the fourth round at the AO Arena but back in the same ring in the same round, it was the Liverpudlian who found himself on the canvas after a peach of an uppercut.
That was the showreel moment of a redemptive evening for Eubank, who boxed with an impressive combination of discipline and spite before sealing a career-salvaging triumph after one minute and 45 seconds of round 10.
Fighting for the first time under new coach Brian McIntyre, Eubank’s variety with the jab and his signature uppercut caught the eye, while most surprisingly of all he comprehensively outworked former super welterweight world champion Smith to the body.
“Beefy” was an increasingly static target, with his movement seemingly compromised after turning his ankle during the early stages. At 35, eight months on from a banner win, the road back towards the elite level suddenly looks prohibitively narrow.
Eubank ended the night calling out middleweight great Gennadiy Golovkin but started it looking pensive during the introductions before vaulting over the top rope to enter the ring, a stylistic tradition taken on from his father, Chris Sr. By contrast, a smiling Smith appeared content and confident, no doubt buoyed by the damage he dished out at the start of the year.
Smith was quickly onto the front foot behind the jab when the action began, while Eubank looked for the left hook before repeatedly tying Smith up on the inside.
Referee Kevin Parker called for both fighters to tidy things up, calls that weren’t entirely heeded during round two when Eubank doubled up nicely on the jab, turning it judiciously into a lead hook on occasions.
Eubank had worked his way into a pleasing rhythm by round three, as he brought his favoured right uppercut into play but not at the expense of sensible shot selection. A left hook to the body rounded off an excellent five-punch combination.
That Eubank Jr uppercut ???? pic.twitter.com/nAjWxXSCRV
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) September 2, 2023
A right to the body opened round four for Junior and the pair traded before a zinger of a Eubank uppercut dispatched Smith onto the seat of his pants. A dislodged gumshield bought Smith some additional time but he continued to plod in straight lines, looking disorganised as Eubank scored freely to head and body.
Eubank sensed the time was ripe for revenge and buzzed Smith with a solid right to the temple early in the fifth. The Brighton man unloaded furiously, with Smith appearing to be on the brink. He needed to take a breath but returned to score with a left hook and uppercut to punctuate another three minutes of toil.
Smith telling his corner he had rolled his ankle perhaps explained his lack of effective mobility. He grimaced when Eubank landed another precision left to the body before turning the attack upstairs in round seven, which ended with Smith in further trouble after shipping a right through the guard.
Tied up on the inside and peppered whenever in range, Smith’s night had long become an ordeal by the time they entered the concluding 10th, when he was bloodied and decked by a furious Eubank flurry. Smith carried on, an exercise in game futility that the referee had soon decided had run its course.
Adam Azim def. Aram Faniian UD 10
One of the brightest rising stars in British boxing, Azim was given the nod by margins of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Those scores did no justice whatsoever to Faniian, as the experienced Ukrainian pushed Azim hard during the middle rounds and landed a meaty left hook. The 21-year-old stuck to single shots too often early on but some well-judged body work paid dividends before he came on strong down the stretch.
Frazer Clarke def. Dave Allen RTD 6/10
Olympic bronze medalist Clarke moved on to 8-0 as a pro but his performance veered between underwhelming to bizarre for most of this domestic dust-up. In offensive terms, likeable slugger Allen had little to offer aside from a winging overhand right that marked up Clarke’s face slightly. “Big Fraze” was banking rounds comfortably enough until a dramatic round six where he twice had a point taken off for low blows.
When Clarke hit Allen low again he appeared to be on the verge of a remarkable disqualification. It persuaded him to pick up his punches and he buzzed Allen with a combination before the bell. Somewhere in the mayhem, Allen suffered a perforated eardrum and his trainer Jamie Moore pulled him out after he returned to the corner.
Jack Cullen def. Mark Heffron KO 3/12 to win the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles
Cullen matched tough in his career and was stopped in four rounds last time out by rising star Diego Pacheco. He was the underdog going in against Heffron, who had been buoyed by a career-best run of form but steadied the champion with a solid right hand in round two. Heffron sought to fight fire with fire in the next session and that proved to be his undoing as Cullen caught him with crisp shots, culminating in a crunching short left hook that decisively scrambled his senses.
Mikaela Mayer def. Silvia Bortot PTS 10
Former unified super featherweight world champion Mayer stepped up in weight again for this super lightweight contest. It’s part of an overall plan to take on IBF welterweight champion Natasha Jonas, who was calling a contest from ringside where Mayer was deservedly awarded every round on referee Steve Gray’s scorecard.
Florian Marku def. Dylan Moran TKO 1/10
Marku is a colourful character who doesn’t always back up his talk. Here, he did so in some style. After a tempestuous build-up in which both men expressed their bad intentions, the Albanian welterweight tore after his foe, slamming home heavy head shots from the southpaw stance. Referee Mark Lyson stepped in after 54 seconds with Moran out on his feet.
Lauren Price def. Lolita Muzeya TD 6/8
Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Price moved to 5-0 as a professional, handing Muzeya her first defeat at her natural weight. The Zambian had previously been stopped up at middleweight by world champion Savannah Marshall and Price had her on the canvas again as she took charge. A head clash in the fifth left the visitor with a nasty cut over the left eye and the bout was stopped at the end of that round on the doctor’s advice.
BLOOD POURING! ????
Liam Smith vs Chris Eubank Jr full card results
- Chris Eubank Jr. def. Liam Smith via TKO 10/12; middleweights
- Adam Azim def. Aram Faniian via UD 10; super lightweights
- Frazer Clarke def. Dave Allen via RTD 6/10; heavyweights
- Jack Cullen def. Mark Heffron (c) via KO 3/12 to win the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles
- Mikaela Mayer def. Silvia Bortot via PTS 10; super lightweights
- Florian Marku def. Dylan Moran via TKO 1/10; welterweights
- Lauren Price def. Lolita Muzeya via TD 6/8; welterweights
- Frankie Stringer def. Christian Lopez Flores via PTS 6; lightweights