Shane McGuigan has weighed in on Chris Eubank Jr’s performance against Liam Smith and what he needs to do to get back to his best.
Smith upset the odds with a fourth round knockout in Manchester – handing the son of Chris Eubank Sr the first stoppage loss of a 35 fight career.
Whilst he congratulated his opponent, flashes of Eubank’s famous confidence still shone through in defeat when he branded Smith’s stoppage a ‘once in a lifetime punch’ and said that he was winning the fight up until that point. He now has the option to go for a rematch in the summer.
McGuigan – who currently trains the likes of Chris Billam-Smith, Daniel Dubois and Adam Azim – told Boxing UK that the preparation and weight may have affected Eubank, but was keep to praise Smith, too.
“Get back to punching in combinations. Get back to not messing about. I heard a lot of people were down there sparring him and he wasn’t really taking himself or the sparring sessions that serious. I feel like he felt he probably was going to walk this fight.
I don’t know about the weight. The weight was a worry. He looked like he lost a lot of muscle for that Conor Benn cut. him being 33, you can’t put muscle on as quickly as you can when you’re 21, 22. I don’t want to make excuses for him – I felt like Liam Smith done a fantastic job. He followed up his combination. He hurt him and followed it up.”
Finally, the British trainer believes that, despite admiring his achievements as a fighter, Roy Jones Jr isn’t the right man for Eubank’s corner.
“That’s not the same Chris Eubank Jr that boxed George Groves or the other fighters. He needs to get his strength back, have a bit of time off, and, personally, get himself away from Roy Jones.
Roy Jones is one of my favourite fighters, but there’s a level of authority that Eubank Jr needs and a level of stiffness within his shots, and tying up his guard.
When he boxed Spike O’Sullivan or Nick Blackwell, he punched in combinations, he punched through the target. He didn’t flick his shots, he wasn’t loose on the exit … He was quite neat and tidy. Get back to that.”