Chris Eubank Jr. denies that he was ever on the cusp of fighting Conor Benn.

The brash middleweight from Brighton, England, is set to take on Liam Smith on Sept. 2 at AO Arena in Manchester in a rematch of their encounter in January, when Smith surprisingly stopped Eubank in four rounds.

The rematch was called for earlier in the year but it was postponed several times, once due to an injury that Smith suffered during training.

But what also seemed to hold up the fight was that Eubank was revisiting a fight with the embattled Benn, whose two positive tests for a banned performance-enhancing drug has scandalized British boxing for the past year. Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, frequently told the media that Eubank was pivoting from a Smith rematch to take on Benn.

Eubank and Benn were originally scheduled to fight last year in a high-profile catchweight bout billed as a generational grudge match that capitalized on the rivalry between their fathers, Nigel Benn and Eubank Sr., who captivated the British sporting public in the 1990s. But the discovery of one of Benn’s positive tests led to the cancellation of that fight.

In a recent interview, Eubank made it clear that Hearn’s insistence that he was seriously considering fighting Benn—instead of Smith—was pure bunk.

“Eddie did a lot of talking and a lot of that talking was … he was chatting a lot of breeze as we like to say,” Eubank told iFL TV. “A lot of the things he was saying was just not true. The fight wasn’t close to being made and there’s no, you know, agreement. I had always said I need to get Liam Smith first. That was always my number one target. I did entertain the possibility of fighting Conor in terms of looking at the contract … listening to the numbers and you know hearing what they were offering. But nothing was ever agreed. ‘Alright, I’ll fight him, but this and that.’ I never implied that I was going to fight him to Eddie or to Matchroom.

“Like I said, it was not the right time. He hasn’t been officially cleared. And I have unfinished business with Liam. That fight isn’t going anywhere. That fight can happen at any time. So I’m not in any rush. I need to right this wrong. I need to avenge this loss first. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing