Liam Smith stuns Chris Eubank Jr with an incredible KO
Chris Eubank Jr against Liam Smith was a pick – and those who picked Smith were right.
The Manchester crowd was right behind ‘Beefy’, his beltwalk continuing through chants as Eubank’s shadow enveloped the bowels of the building.
Round 1-3 is close and exploratory. Eubank focused on his stab and it started to work in the third round. Smith, after all the talk about being a smaller man, etc., didn’t want to take a step back. He was happy to feed the jab to try and land his own.
The fourth round is quite unbelievable. A series of hits – including a perfect header on the court – was taken down for the first time in his professional career, Eubank Jr. Not only did he fall, but he was also cornered. When he’s standing, he jumps from side to side of the ring, but not like we usually do. The legs weren’t there, and Smith knocked him down again quickly.
Referee Victor Loughlin waved his hand, absolutely correct. Eubank was so stunned that he thought the war was still going on. The pair shook hands as Junior regained his composure and the setback settled. In recognition of the great merit, he congratulated Smith in front of the crowd, and the couple left them behind. As of writing, it is unclear whether he will call for a rematch, which is his right.
Eubank Jr’s chin – and confidence – has officially cracked, and the man who did it has told us he can do it all.
RESPECT! Liam Smith Chris Eubank Jr pic.twitter.com/xcUjixk4Qy
– Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 21, 2023
Elsewhere on the card, Ekow Essuman (18-0.7 KO) places the British and Commonwealth welterweight title ahead of Chris Kongo (14-1, 7 KOs). The champion tried for the first four innings and couldn’t break the rhythm set by the challenger with his jab, but halfway through he started to move inwards with more success.
It looked like the tides were changing late Saturday as the pair stood to trade before sharing a few words after the bell. Essuman won a big right hand in the ninth inning – a round that was clear to him when he needed it most. The ending was worthy of the British title, with Kongo stumbling. Both men felt they had done enough as they waited for the cards. Essuman retained his belt, his powerful finish clearly impressing the judges.
Despite his defeat to Joe Joyce, Joseph Parker is still a former world champion and has always been an extremely difficult first heavyweight test for local lad, Jack Massey. It’s been a card sweep for the New Zealanders, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t end sometimes.
Massey – a heavy cruiser until this match – certainly didn’t shy away from the action and displayed a good chin and return fire in the ensuing rounds. Parker’s training partner and now world champion, Tyson Fury, cheered him on from the ring. The fight of that night is not.
Frazer Clarke made it 5-0 as a professional with an injury-time win over Kevin Espindola. Clarke showed off a neatly trimmed new body and brought the Espindola to his knees – the away boxer refused to return to the chair after the fourth round due to injuries to his hand and or forearm in the first round, may be due to lack of desire in general. It hasn’t always been pretty, and Clarke still hasn’t had a clear performance to really kick off her campaign.
Heavyweight prospect Matty Harris took a 4-0 lead with a first-round knockout against Jiri Surmaj – a relatively early inning but the game went one way.