Chris Eubank Jr was hurt, dropped and stopped for the first time in his career by Liam Smith in a thrilling contest to kickstart the UK’s boxing calendar for 2023.
The result went completely against Eubank’s theory that it would be an easy night at the office, and now opens the door to a stadium rematch between the pair should the loser decide to push for it.
In the aftermath, Eubank did congratulate his opponent and any bad blood was left behind as they embraced in the ring. It was a nice touch, but fans would be fooled if they thought Eubank had been completely humbled.
Backstage he told Sky Sports that it ‘wasn’t a tough night’ and that Smith’s shot was ‘once in a lifetime.’
“A tough night? No I wouldn’t even say that, I was having fun, I was landing my shots, I was enjoying the moment. And he caught me with a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I got up, I recovered, he put it on me again with a few more shots and the referee decided it was enough.”
He went on to say that the rematch would happen sometime in the future.
Smith was asked by the DAZN Boxing Show what he thought of Eubank’s comments – particularly attributing his knockout to an extreme rarity. The Liverpool fighter’s response shot down the theory perfectly.
“I just think, Chris, which one was it? Was it the left uppercut that was once in a lifetime or was it the left hook that put you down or…? I hit you with about five or six.”
"Once in a lifetime punch" No chance says @LiamBeefySmith 😆#EubankJrSmithpic.twitter.com/jEdROchypj
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) January 26, 2023
One way to decide if it was a singular occurrence or not is to sign for the rematch, which it’s widely expected Eubank will do despite calls from some fighters to retire or move forward in a different direction at a new weight.
Smith, as per the contract, would be required to take the rematch if it’s called for.