Chris Eubank Jr has reacted with bemusement to Liam Smith asking him had he been knocked out in sparring in the build up to their clash in January.
In what came as a surprise to most outside of ‘Beefy’s team, he defeated Eubank Jr with a stunning fourth round knockout at the Manchester Arena, the first time ‘Next Gen’ had ever been stopped as a professional.
With a rematch announced this week for June 17th at the same venue, the build up has picked up right where things were left first time around and there is still clearly no love lost between the pair.
And when Smith asked Eubank had he been stopped in sparring at the opening press conference, Jr responded in typical fashion.
“No I didn’t get knocked out in sparring. What a strange inquiry that was. That’s an absurd overstatement to say that I was petrified.
Did I not want to get hit? Absolutely, I’m a good looking fellow and I want to keep these looks. So yes, I was trying to avoid your punches as much as I could.
I know that you like to play dirty, so I thought “let me stay away from the possibility of getting cut or some stupid injury happening.” Because I want to be active.”
Prior to the pair’s first meeting, Eubank Jr had never so much as touched the canvas as a professional, and a Smith KO was regarded as by far the most unlikely outcome by both fans and bookmakers.
Though Eubank publicly stated his desire to activate the contractual rematch clause, at one stage it looked like he would forego another crack at Smith in order to revisit a fight with Conor Benn. However, Benn’s UKAD suspension put paid to these plans.