Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 - face off photo from their first fight

Eubank Jr vs. Smith 2 Preview: “One of us is getting stopped.”

Amid the fallout of the Eubank Jr vs. Benn fight cancellation, Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 has quietly emerged as a rivalry rematch British boxing fans never knew we needed.

Their first fight took place in January 2023, with Liam Smith scoring a fourth-round knockout and setting up a mouth-watering rematch that Eubank Jr has dubbed as his opportunity to “set the record straight.”

Despite Smith’s undoubted pedigree, his devastating victory was considered by some as a considerable upset, and one Eubank Jr would need to avenge in equally emphatic fashion to get his career back on track and aim towards a world championship.

After a delay to the original July date due to a training injury to Smith, the rematch between Eubank Jr (35-3, 23 KO) and Liam Smith (37-3, 20 KO) is scheduled to take place on 2nd September at the scene of the first fight, Manchester’s AO Arena.

First fight: Unfinished Business

Ahead of their first bout, Eubank was supremely confident of an easy night’s work, claiming at the press conference that he only needed to fight at 50% to defeat Smith. He wasn’t alone in that confidence. Many of the pre-fight breakdowns centred around Eubank Jr’s qualities; his granite chin and speed cited as being too much for Smith to overcome.

There was a fairly spicy fight build up too, with both fighters reprimanded for their various antics during the press conference and the interactions between the two became increasingly heated to set up what was expected to be a back-and-forth war.

The fight itself didn’t really turn out like that. The first three rounds were a closely fought tussle, with neither fighter taking control until Smith landed a big shot in the fourth to change everything. After piling on the pressure in the corner, Smith landed a huge uppercut which left Eubank Jr slumped in the corner.

He answered the count but looked unsteady on his feet and once the fight resumed, was back on the ground within seconds. There was no count the second time round and the towel was thrown in by Eubank Jr’s corner to mark an epic victory for Liam Smith.

After the fight was waved off, the hostilities continued with both fighters squaring up to each other while both corners rushed in to avoid a melee. Before they had even left the ring that night it still felt like there was some unfinished business between the rivals.

In the post-fight press conference and subsequent interviews, Eubank Jr has repeatedly disputed the validity of the win, citing an elbow in the build up to the first knockdown, and an early stoppage as reasons for Smith’s victory.

He felt he could have turned around the fight in his favour if he was given the opportunity. Against the advice of many, he activated the rematch clause and now the Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 fight has an official date to go ahead.

Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2: “One of us is getting stopped”

While Eubank Jr may have questioned the result of the first fight, he has still felt the need to make some big changes to his camp ahead of the rematch.

Despite being one of the biggest names in boxing, Roy Jones Jr’s stint as Eubank Jr’s head trainer doesn’t appear to have been as fruitful as expected. His last couple of performances before the Smith fight were perhaps lacking some of the edge that had seen Eubank Jr become one of the top ranked middleweight fighters in the world.

Jones’ replacement is veteran coach Brian McIntyre AKA BoMac, head trainer of pound for pound great and undisputed welterweight champion Terrence Crawford, who will be riding high following Crawford’s incredible recent victory over Errol Spence Jr.

Speaking ahead of the rematch, BoMac has echoed Eubank Jr’s assertion that he was winning the first fight before Smith landed the telling blow. He recently told Sky Sports “he was winning that last fight, he just got careless. His performance was great. He was winning the rounds, off the jab. Little small things can make the difference in a fight. I think that he can do a lot better. I think that he can win the fight.”

Given the limited amount of time they have been working together, it remains to be seen what tangible and strategic differences the change in camp will bring to Eubank Jr’s approach, with questions circling around whether he may have lost some confidence to stand and trade with a fighter as dangerous as Smith.

In a series of heated head-to-head interviews ahead of the Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 fight, both fighters are adamant in their differing assessments of the first encounter but are both in agreement that they don’t see the rematch going the distance.

Smith has stated on multiple occasions that he feels he simply has Eubank Jr’s number and expects the rematch to go exactly the same way as the first. Eubank Jr, on the other hand, has predicted he will get the job done in devastating fashion, but has reiterated it’s ‘do or die’ second time round “I just got complacent, now I’m ready to set the record straight. One of us is getting stopped”.

Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 – What’s at stake?

A victory for Eubank Jr could realistically result in a third fight, with the head-to-head resting at one win each, but it would be remiss to ignore the Conor Benn-shaped shadow hanging over the outcome of this fight.

Despite the fanfare and historical baggage surrounding the Eubank Jr vs. Benn fight, Benn remains an option for either fighter. Conor Benn himself has predicted another victory for Smith despite his personal preference of getting the long awaited Benn vs. Eubank Jr showdown. Speaking to IFLTV, Benn commented “I can’t see him getting past Smith. I’d love for him to, but I can’t see it. Especially with the trainer change so late in the camp.”

Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 – Fight details

The Eubank Jr Vs. Smith 2 fight will take place at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday September 2nd and will be screened live Sky Sports Box Office.