Middleweight rivals Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith got into a heated war of words at today’s official pre-fight press conference ahead of their main event showdown on this Saturday’s BOXXER event, which airs live on DAZN & Sky Sports Box Office.
Weights: Chris Eubank Jr 159 vs. Liam Smith 159
Richard Riakporhe 199.25 vs. Krzysztof Glowacki 197.25
Joseph Parker 245.25 vs. Jack Massey 213.25
Ekow Essuman 146 vs. Chris Kongo 146.25
Frazer Clarke 272 vs. Kevin Espindola 285
Eubank and Smith have previously expressed their genuine dislike for each other and their tensions came to the surface today as the two traded verbal barbs before facing off for a staredown photo.
LIAM SMITH: “It’s just the win that matters regardless. I’d love to make a statement and stop him, but a win at any means necessary is the aim.”
“Nobody believes him [about coming in at 50%], maybe a couple of his phone carriers and ball carriers. He doesn’t believe that himself. His coaches, Roy and Ronnie, both have told you different, so we’ll see Saturday what shape he’s in.”
CHRIS EUBANK JR
“I’ve always wanted to win this fight by knockout. The fact that Liam is being a child up here it gives me a bit of extra incentive to embarrass him.”
“I’m cutting weight right now, so I’m at a good solid 44-45 per cent right now, but I’ll be a strong 50 per cent on the night and that will be more than enough to take the man [out]”
“I actually weighed in lighter than Liam yesterday, so I guess that argument about weights is irrelevant now. Liam’s the bigger man. I’m comfortable, happy and glad to be back in Manchester.”
ROY JONES JR, TRAINER OF CHRIS EUBANK JR
“When you’re a complete fighter, there’s no style to be caught between. Chris is a complete fighter now, so he can fight any style.
“Smith is a highly dangerous opponent. He’s been in the ring with the likes of Canelo and knows his way around the ring. That pushes Chris even more to get ready and get prepared. If he chooses to use 40 per cent, that’s up to him. Our goal is to get him ready and then it’s up to him.”
JOE McNALLY, TRAINER OF LIAM SMITH
“I’m expecting a bit of Roy (Jones Jr), a little bit of ferociousness. I hope he brings everything because that’s what Liam’s prepared for.”
“I believe the early rounds will be key, If Eubank allows Smith to take the the early rounds he might be forced into trying to get a stoppage. Eubank cannot take his foot off the pedal.
BEN SHALOM, PROMOTER
“I remember when I met Liam, he said, ‘get me the Eubank fight and I’ll sign with you.’ Now It’s a bigger fight than when Liam first mentioned it to me.
“It’s just built and built, it’s got war written all over it and I think this is what British boxing really needs right now.”
Eubank Jr Taunts Smith In Giant Billboard Message
Chris Eubank Jr has lit the blue touch paper ahead of next week’s blockbuster, all-British showdown by goading arch-nemesis Liam Smith with a giant billboard message in Manchester.
Next Saturday, on January 21, the two bitter-rivals will collide in front of a sold-out AO Arena, live in the UK & Republic of Ireland on Sky Sports Box Office.
And with the eyes of the sporting world on the North-West today for this lunchtime’s Manchester football derby, middleweight Eubank Jr has delivered his latest round of mind games to opponent Smith before the world turns its attention to their dust-up in seven days time.
Plastered across Europe’s second largest digital advertising display, just a stone’s throw away from Old Trafford, Eubank Jr’s message to staunch Liverpool supporter Smith reads: “It won’t be the first time Liverpool have come to Manchester and taken a beating.”
Former world champion Smith, who still plays local Sunday league football, appeared live on Sky Sports’ Soccer AM show earlier today, where he wowed the audience with his impressive football skills by scoring a sensational volley and completing the crossbar challenge.
And he is planning his own out of home reply to Eubank Jr in his native Merseyside before he takes the short trip across the M62 for next week’s hugely-anticipated showdown.
The main event – in association with Wasserman Boxing – will take place during BOXXER: Unleashed.
The BOXXER show features a stacked undercard with Richard Riakporhe launching his quest for a world title shot in 2023 when he battles former two-time WBO cruiserweight world champion Krzysztof Głowacki and local lad Jack Massey stepping up to face former WBO world heavyweight champion, Joseph Parker.
Joining them on this blockbuster night of boxing will be Ekow Essuman vs Chris Kongo for the British & Commonwealth, IBF European and WBC International Silver Championships.
Team GB Tokyo 2020 hero Frazer Clarke is back where he faces hard-hitting Argentine heavyweight, Kevin Espindola. The South American fighter has never been stopped in 13 previous professional bouts and Olympic bronze medallist Clarke will be determined to extend his flawless record in the professional ranks with a big victory.
Plus, Matty Harris vs Jiri Surmaj, Scott Forrest vs Amine ‘The Beast’ Boucetta, and Frankie Stringer will be on show in what promises to be an unforgettable start to 2023.