George Groves has weighed in on next month’s middleweight clash between old foe Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith, and has revealed what Smith can do to get the upper hand.
Groves beat Eubank Jr in the semi final of the World Boxing Super Series back in 2018, and told Sky Sports he believes exploiting Eubank’s jab will be paramount for the Liverpool man if he is to emerge victorious in front of a home crowd on January 21st.
“He [Eubank] doesn’t really have a particularly good jab … the jab obviously allows him to get himself into distance to let his hands go, but a lot of the time he can’t really get that off, so he has to punch in combinations to almost close the distance. He is willing to just let his hands go and not be too worried about what’s coming back at him, and that might be the case with Liam Smith.”
“Smith’s cute. He’ll dip to the left and he’ll pop out of that left side so the weight goes onto the front foot … and then he’ll come up with a jab … and then just throw that right hand.”
“So Eubank will have to be conscious of that, and if you haven’t got a good enough jab to match that basic skill, then you’ll get caught with it and he’ll have to punch his way into range to have success.”
The Eubank fight will be Smith’s first at middleweight, having campaigned at super welterweight throughout his professional career.
Although Eubank has fought as high as super middleweight, many observers believe there will not be a significant difference in size come fight night.
Smith has had his eyes set on ‘Next Gen’ ever since signing with Sky Sports and Boxxer, and feared he would miss out on the fight when Eubank agreed to fight Conor Benn on DAZN.
However, Benn’s failed drug test saw the fight postponed and opened the door for negotiations to resume between Smith and Eubank’s respective teams. A deal was agreed in a matter of weeks.
The contest will take place at the M+S Bank Arena in Liverpool, the same venue where Smith stopped Hassan Mwakinyo on his Boxxer debut.