Chris Eubank Jr has opened up on his decision to rematch Liam Smith rather than travel to the Middle East for a big money fight against rival, Conor Benn.
Eubank and Benn were all ready to make weight and fight back in October of 2022 when news broke that Benn had failed a doping test.
The fight was ‘prohibited’ by the British Boxing Board of Control, sparking a scandal that’s still going on to this day.
As Benn claimed innocence, Eubank took his army of new fans to Manchester to face Smith. He was knocked out in the fourth round – the first stoppage loss of his career.
It was expected he would activate his immediate rematch clause, which he did on Valentine’s Day, however talks to revisit the Benn fight for June looked set to derail those plans.
Around the same time the British Board claimed that any UK fighter considering facing Benn, overseas or otherwise, would risk ramifications, Eubank decided on the second Smith fight.
Speaking to IFL TV, he said that it wasn’t the right time to fight Benn.
“I decided against it. There was a substantial offer. I had to weight up the pros and cons of taking that fight before taking the Smith fight – because the Smith fight was always gonna happen, I have to avenge the loss.”
“It’s not the right time. It wasn’t in the right place. He’s got a lot of stuff to sort out and I feel like that’s got to happen before we get in the ring.”
“I think he needs to get his British boxing license back and the fight needs to happen in the UK where we both have a huge fan base, and a huge hater base.”
Despite ultimately turning it down, Eubank revealed that the teams were ‘fairly deep’ into negotiations and stated that Benn’s side were ‘willing to do everything’ to make the fight.
He’s confident it will happen in the future, though, saying that he ‘would never forget’ Benn’s conduct.
“It’s extremely personal. He put me through what he put me through while he was doing what he was doing, and I’m never gonna forget that. Ever.”
With a UK Anti Doping trial hanging over him and no opponent announced, it’s unclear where Benn’s comeback stands. As for Eubank, he faces Smith on June 17 in Manchester.