By Mark Eisner: In a shocking upset, former WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) scored a surprising fourth round knockout victory over favorite Chris Eubank Jr (32-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday night at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Eubank Jr was dominating through three rounds but was suddenly hurt in the fourth round by Smith and dropped twice. The referee Victor Loughlin halted the fight after the second knockout.
After the first knockdown, Eubank Jr’s legs were totally gone as he staggered around after getting back to his feet.
When the action resumed, Smith immediately went for the kill, nailing the mentally confused Eubank Jr with big shots, sending him down for the second time. The referee then stepped in and halted the fight.
Richard Riakporhe (16-0, 12 KOs) stopped former two-time WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (32-4, 20 KOs) in the fourth round. The 6’5″ Riakporhe hurt the 36-year-old Glowacki with a right hand to the head that staggered him, causing him to back up against the ropes on shaky legs. The 33-year-old Riakporhe then unloaded with a series of heavy shots to the head, many of them missing, but two hard shots to the side of Glowacki’s head resulted in the referee Howard Foster stepping in to stop the contest. He had no choice because Glowacki wasn’t throwing anything back and was being lined up for a coup de grace KO shot from Riakporhe. With the defeat, Glowacki has now lost three out of his last four fights. Riakporhe’s punch accuracy wasn’t top-notch, making him look a lot like Lawrence Okolie.
Undefeated welterweight Ekow Essuman (19-0, 7 KOs) defeated Chris Kongo (14-2, 7 KOs) by a razor-close twelve majority decision. The scores were 116-113, 115-114, and 114-114.
Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (31-3, 21 KOs) defeated Jack Massey (20-2, 11 KOs) by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 96-93, 97-92, and 97-93. Massey, 29, was docked a point in the eighth round for a low blow. Both guys did a lot of holding and shoving around. Parker, 31, was at his best in the first half of the contest, but he looked tired down the stretch was hit with some big shots occasionally by the smaller Massey. It wasn’t a great performance from Parker, who was coming off an 11th round knockout loss to Joe Joyce. There wasn’t enough improvement from Parker in this fight that would suggest that he’s capable of beating a fighter like Joyce in a rematch. Massey was too negative, and not letting his hands go in the way that he needed for him to have had a shot at winning.
Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Frazer Clarke (5-0, 4 KOs) registered his fourth knockout, stopping a game Argentinian Kevin Nicolas Espindola (7-7, 2 KOs) in a fight scheduled for six rounds. The 26-year-old Espindola suffered a right hand injury and couldn’t continue after the fourth round. Both fighters looked painfully slow as they plodded around the ring. In the fourth, Espindola fought with his back against the ropes in the corner, making himself an easy target for Clarke to load up with his right hands to nail him repeatedly. It wasn’t entertaining to watch because Espindola had nothing to offer to keep the 31-year-old Clarke off him. The fight showed that Clarke has a long, long way to go before he is ready to challenge for a world title. Frazer’s lack of speed was disappointing and looked exhausted after the fight. He had that rubber look that suggested that he was greatly fatigued. Referee James Kilpatrick stopped the contest at 3:00 of round four.
Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (30-3, 21 KO) will be taking on Jack Massey (20-1, 11 KO) in a confidence-builder match-up to get a win under his belt after being stopped by Joe Joyce in his previous fight.
Eubank Jr vows to punish Smith
“Do I respect the way he talks and the things he says? Absolutely not,” said Chris Eubank Jr to Lightweight Boxing about Liam Smith.
“We’re going to see if I get booed in this arena or if I get cheered,” Eubank Jr said when asked if he’ll be seen as the villain by the fans. “I’m the same guy I was four months ago.
“People say I may be the good guy now, or I’m the fan favorite, whatever you want to call it. I’m still the same guy. Do I prefer it? I haven’t experienced it yet. We’re going to find out.
“The thing that were said up there don’t affect the outcome of the fight. It doesn’t affect my game plan and what I want to do with this guy once that bell goes.
“The plan is for me to go out there and take these guys out, destroy these guys. If he wants to make it personal, good. It’s going to give me a little more enjoyment as I’m putting him on the canvas.
“World titles,” Eubank Jr said when asked what is more critical for him, winning a world title or fighting Conor Benn. “We want Golovkin. I’ve said it.
“I’m getting bored of saying it. It’s at the point now where I need these belts, and he has them, and he’s the big name in the middleweight division. I’m the biggest money fight out there for him.
“I’m the fight that people want to see him fight the most. So there’s no reason why this fight shouldn’t be made, and then after that, we can take care of Conor Benn.
“Whatever he’s trying to say as far as my sexuality, I don’t cuddle anybody. I cuddle my girlfriend; that’s about it. But will we shake hands? You guys will have to wait and see,” said Eubank Jr about Liam.
Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith will settle their grudge match tonight in their highly anticipated middleweight bout scheduled for 12 rounds, shown on DAZN in the U.S and Sky Box Office in the UK at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.