Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith’s bitter rivalry takes centre stage at Manchester Arena on Sky Sports Box Office. In a crossroads bout for both Middleweights, the victory of the main event will springboard towards a GGG payday while the loser may be forced to hang up the gloves for good.
Even with the theatrics that occurred during the build-up, the PPV nature of Eubank vs Smith will call upon the quality on the undercard. Joseph Parker returns after a devastating knockout loss to Joe Joyce, while Richard Riakporhe continues his ascent towards a Cruiserweight world title shot later this year.
The BOXXER press conference was a disaster for Britain’s youngest licenced promoter, Ben Shalom, and broadcaster Sky Sports. A whole range of inflammatory comments ranging from personal to homophobic insults were thrown around Manchester’s Exchange Hall.
Liam Smith let himself down after insinuating Chris Eubank was gay, before Jr fired back allegations of Smith cheating on his wife. In the middle of the crossfire, Tony Bellew was also called the biggest arsehole to come out of Liverpool. Oh, and a lot of airtime was given to Smith’s strange ramblings about Chris Eubank Jr’s hair and whether it is ‘real’. Only in boxing, folks!
Nevertheless, Pintsized’s bitesized prediction for the Saturday’s boxing event is Eubank Jr def. Smith – UD.
Where/When is Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith taking place:
January 21, 2022. AO Arena. Manchester, United Kingdom.
What time does Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith start:
🇬🇧 UK: 6pm / 🇺🇸 US ET: 1pm
What channel is Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith on:
🇬🇧 UK: Sky Sports Box Office / 🇺🇸 US: DAZN
|Eubank Jr vs Smith Odds||Eubank Jr vs Smith Predictions|
|Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith Odds:|
(-280) / (+200)
|Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith Prediction:|
Eubank Jr Decision
|Joseph Parker vs Jack Massey Odds:|
(-1200) / (+680)
|Joseph Parker vs Jack Massey Prediction:|
Parker TKO Round 3
|Ekow Essuman vs Chris Kongo Odds:|
(-136) / (+108)
|Ekow Essuman vs Chris Kongo Prediction:|
|Frazer Clarke vs Kevin Nicolas Espindola Odds:|
(-5000) / (+1600)
|Frazer Clarke vs Kevin Nicolas Espindola Prediction:|
Clarke TKO Round 4
|Richard Riakporhe vs Krzysztof Glowacki Odds:|
(-1200) / (+680)
|Richard Riakporhe vs Krzysztof Glowacki Prediction:|
Riakporhe TKO Round 10
|Scott Forrest vs Amine Boucetta Odds:|
(-6000) / (+1600)
|Scott Forrest vs Amine Boucetta Prediction:|
Forrest TKO Round 3
|Matty Harris vs Jiri Surmaj Odds:|
(-6000) / (+1600)
|Matty Harris vs Jiri Surmaj Prediction:|
Eubank Jr vs Smith: Main Event
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith
Chris Eubank Jr (32-2, 23KOs)
After spending close to a full year out of the ring, Chris Eubank Jr has reunited with trainer and former GOAT, Roy Jones Jr. To be fair to Chris, he was faultless in the mess that was Conor Benn’s adverse drug samples and Eddie Hearn’s spineless attempts to continue the circus.
Since campaigning at Middleweight, Eubank Jr has built an impressive 4-0 record on paper. The tape suggests otherwise, however. The Brighton fighter was gifted a second-round TKO over Matvey Korobov after his foe injured his shoulder. Routine but safe victories against Marcus Morrison and Wanik Awdijan followed before Eubank Jr dropped Liam Williams four times in a bizarre showing from the Welshman.
Not to say that any of the aforementioned issues have been caused by Eubank Jr, but they have left his career stagnating on the international stage. Worryingly, Eubank’s showing against Awdijan was littered with numerous technical mistakes as he unsuccessfully tried his hand at counter-punching.
Awdijan comfortably ignored Eubank’s less-than-subtle feint, firing and landing his jab with ease. Only when Eubank decided to fall back onto his career style and walk down his opponent that Awdijan folded quickly. Smith is a brutal body puncher who will punish Eubank if he strays too far away from his best assets – volume, conditioning and an unreal chin.
Liam Smith (32-3-1, 19KOs)
For a fighter who earned his career payday with Canelo back in 2016, Beefy has gone a long way to justifying his place in the British Hall of Fame. Since sharing nine rounds with one of the ATGs at the AT&T Stadium, Smith has notched victories over Liam Williams (twice), Sam Eggington, Anthony Fowler and Jessie Vargas.
Smith should arguably be sitting on a seven-fight winning streak after dropping a very dubious points decision in Ekaterinburg, Russia against Magomed Kurbanov. Nevertheless, the Liverpudlian has started to sit into his shots during the final embers of his career. Of note is Smith’s left hand which corkscrews at such an awkward angle that is often impossible for opponents to guess the trajectory towards head or body.
Although Liam Smith is now trained by Joe McNalley, he still operates behind the high guard – the trademark of his former coach, Joe Gallagher. It’s the core of simplistic pugilism but Smith makes it work so well through his innate sense of positioning. Against Fowler and Vargas, Smith never allowed his opponents to rest, burning their gas tank early as they tried to stop Beefy prodding away at the mid-range.
Eubank Jr is a tireless machine in terms of volume but he lacks ring generalship to lead a fight on his own terms – lending itself to a dogged war in the trenches that Smith has regularly proved to excel at.
Eubank Jr vs Smith Prediction: Eubank JR Decision
Eubank Jr vs Smith: Co-Main Event
Joseph Parker vs Jack Massey
Joseph Parker (30-3, 21KOs)
There’s rebounding off a loss, and then there’s fighting a blown-up Cruiserweight with no name value or wins of note to speak of. Since dropping back-to-back stinkers against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, Parker’s tentative match-making has seen him fall out of the conversation of ‘elite Heavyweights’. Parker, to his credit, was comfortably out-boxing Joe Joyce in the opening rounds… before he wasn’t. Parker can always rely on his iron-clad chin and natural power to stick around the top 10, but he has to go back to basics with his jab if he ever wants to hold a world title again.
Jack Massey (20-1, 11KOs)
Hopefully, Cheshire native Jack Massey is earning a princely sum for sacrificing 14kg in weight against a proven knockout artist. Massey’s best performance came in a British title fight that saw ‘One Smack’ claim hard-earned rounds off Richard Riakporhe. Even then, Massey was out-worked on the outside against a very green, stiff version of Riakporhe. Despite sharp head movement, Massey rarely strings defence into offence – far too one-dimensional.
Parker vs Massey Prediction: Parker TKO Round 3
Eubank Jr vs Smith: Prelims
Ekow Essuman vs Chris Kongo
British Welterweight Title
Commonwealth Welterweight Title
IBF European Welterweight Title
WBC International Silver Welterweight Title
Ekow Essuman (18-0, 7KOs)
A cracking domestic firefight. Essuman enters as a slight favourite off the back of convincing points victories over Samuel Antwi and Darren Tetley. The undefeated Nottingham fighter is a small Welterweight yet he manages himself exceptionally within the clinch. Essuman’s best weapon is a drop shift that adds length to his crisp right hook, catching opponents by surprise.
Chris Kongo (14-1, 7KOs)
After spending ten agonising rounds being out-boxed by Michael McKinson, Kongo has made clear efforts to transition away from his earlier identity as a power puncher. Kongo’s jab is a true ram-rod weapon but he lacks the tools to maintain his advantage on the outside. Too often Kongo will initiate an exchange and land a single strike before letting his opponent reply with a short flurry that he fails to punish.
Essuman vs Kongo Prediction: Essuman Decision
Frazer Clarke vs Kevin Nicolas Espindola
Frazer Clarke (4-0, 3KOs)
If you haven’t already, take a look at our latest deep dive into the career and future of Tokyo Olympic 2020 bronze medalist, Frazer Clarke. There are rumours circulating that BOXXER is running down Clarke’s contract by organising the cheapest fights available. Late-notice match-making of this quality goes some way to fueling the conspiracy.
Kevin Nicolas Espindola (7-6, 2KOs)
Argentinian journeyman, Kevin Nicolas Espindola, returns to England for the second time in his career. Picked apart over eight rounds by Solomon Dacres, Espindola was happy to sit behind a high guard on his back foot and reach the final bell. Espindola has never been stopped in his career but Clarke’s bodywork may prove the South American’s kryptonite.
Clarke vs Espindola Prediction: Clarke TKO Round 4
Richard Riakporhe vs Krzysztof Glowacki
Richard Riakporhe (15-0, 11KOs)
If Richard Riakporhe is able to overcome the former world champion, Krzysztof Glowacki, the Brit will be well within the mix for title fights. A strange scenario for a fighter who struggled to deal with Sam Hyde just a few years back. A mammoth Cruiserweight at 6’5″, Riakporhe tightened his shot selection in 2022 and as such, reaped the rewards of highlight-reel stoppages over Deion Jumah and Fabio Turchi.
Krzysztof Glowacki (32-3, 20KOs)
In the mid-2010s, Krzysztof Glowacki was a legitimate Cruiserweight name with scalps over Steve Cunningham, Marco Huck and Maxim Vlasov. Even in defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, Glowacki successfully laid down an early siege to the Ukranian’s body and deservedly earned a handful of rounds. The Pole’s punch resistance appears to have run its course following consecutive stoppage losses to Mairis Briedis and Lawrence Okolie.
Riakporhe vs Glowacki Prediction: Riakporhe TKO Round 10
Scott Forrest vs Amine Boucetta
Scott Forrest (3-0, 3KOs)
Scott Forrest, a Johannesburg native, is still building his early career against journeymen. There’s no doubting Forrest’s clubbing power, but he stands upright in the pocket while rarely holding punching form over combinations.
Amine Boucetta (7-5)
Belgium fighter, Amine Boucetta, is looking to snap a four-fight slide that includes his first career stoppage loss last time out. Unlike a career journeyman, Boucetta is happy to throw off his back foot. Expecting Boucetta to land early on Forrest but react poorly to his opponent’s superior firepower.
Forrest vs Boucetta Prediction: Forrest TKO Round 3
Matty Harris vs Jiri Surmaj
Matty Harris (3-0, 2KOs)
West Midlander, Matty Harris, is an undefeated 23-year-old prospect still learning the ropes. Utilising his length well last time out against Pawel Strykowski, Harris continually measured range with an extended lead hand before sniping with his powerful right hand.
Jiri Surmaj (3-2, 2KOs)
Another Czech journeyman called over to pad out UK records, Jiri Surmaj is yet to beat a fighter with a winning record. Surmaj was not blessed with reach yet operates solely from the outside with single shots.
Harris vs Surmaj Prediction: Harris Decision
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