Chris Eubank Jr is set to take the ring against Liam Smith this weekend in what many see as a 50/50 fight. A win for either man will put them in a position to challenge for a world title and the loser may struggle to see a path back to the top.
Whilst ‘Beefy’ Smith has the experience of being a former world champion, he is coming up in weight and fighting at middleweight for the first time in his career.
Meanwhile, Chris Eubank Jr is coming off of the back of an impressive win against Liam Williams last year, but has been out of the ring for almost twelve months, following the cancellation of his fight with Conor Benn.
Here’s what those within boxing think will happen on Saturday night:
“I make Eubank the favourite, he’s got natural size to his advantage, he’s the A side. And people are starting to like him now, I think he likes that.”
“We’ll see if he can get under Liam Smith’s skin, Liam’s been about but he is temperamental – he does bite.”
“It could be a real banana skin for Eubank, Smith is a neat and tidy boxer and does a lot of things well. It depends what version of Eubank shows up.”
“Eubank needs to come and throw volume and try and hurt Smith to the body, put him under pressure as the bigger man.”
“It also depends how tight he is at the weight, but I think Eubank wins.”
Prediction: Eubank Win
“I do really rate him [Smith]. He’s very well schooled, he’s got the basics nailed down really well. Obviously he’s got a good engine, he puts that pressure on. A good body puncher, he sets up the attacks really well. I think it’s an interesting fight for sure but I feel like Smith is going to win this fight.”
“That’s what makes it interesting – they’re both very mentally strong, I feel and I just think they’re not going to want to be bullied or pushed back. So I think it’s a going to be a cracking fight.
“I think Smith is going to win. It’s a very even fight. But I think Smith might just have that little too much work rate and nick it on the cards.”
Prediction: Smith Win By Decision
“I think it’s a good fight. It’s one [that] I’ll definitely be watching. He’s not my cup of tea, Chris Eubank, I think we all know that. I want Liam Smith to win. I believe he will win. I’m basing that on he’s underestimated Liam Smith.”
“You know he can punch, Eubank. He’s got a great engine. He’s not the best boxer in the world. It is a good fight. It’s a match ’em fight. It’s a good question what you just said to me. Maybe [because I don’t like Eubank] that’s part of my answer. I don’t know. I do think it’s a tough one. But I think Liam can pull it off.”
Prediction: Smith Win
“I’ve done some training with Liam Smith, always a hard worker, trains very hard. He was my training partner when I was fighting Canelo. He’s a tough fighter, especially when he puts that attack on you, he’s got great pressure, throws some great shots and hits quite hard.
I’ve got Liam winning that fight. Even though a lot of people are going to favour the younger fighter in Chris Eubank Jr, I just feel experience in this case will take hold.”
Prediction: Smith Win
“I think Eubank will start fast and probably pick up the early rounds. But, being honest, that’s what a lot of people at the higher level do against Liam Smith, because he allows you to do that.
Tactically Smith is very good. He doesn’t look like it because of the way he fights, but he’s got such a good boxing brain. I’ve got a feeling that, by round three or four, he’ll be really finding his range and getting on the inside to work the body of Eubank.
“I don’t think Eubank’s ego will allow him to just stay on the outside and potshot Liam Smith. So I think, after those first few rounds, it could turn into a real slug fest and I’ve got a feeling Smith will get him out of there after nine or ten rounds.”
Prediction: Smith Win By Knockout
“I’d expect Liam Smith to win, because of his pedigree and his experience. But timing is everything, and the timing might be right for Eubank Jr.”
“Eubank’s got an amazing engine and he’s very good at getting under a fighter’s skin.”
“I’d lean towards Smith, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eubank got the timing right and pulled it off.”
Prediction: Smith Win
In the eyes of the experts, the likely outcome appears to be a win for Liam Smith. This goes against the bookies, who have Eubank as the favourite.
The fight tops a stacked of a card, featuring the likes of Joseph Parker, Richard Riakporhe and a British title fight between Ekow Essuman and Chris Kongo, as Sky Sports and Boxxer look to kick off 2023 with a bang.
The event is available to purchase on Sky Sports pay-per-view for a price of £19.95, with Eubank and Smith expected to make their ring walks around 10pm, Saturday 21st January.