Kalle Sauerland says his ace client Chris Eubank Jr. is solely focused on the tangible deal at hand, which is a rematch with Liam Smith—not a fight with Conor Benn.
The boxing world has been rife with gossip lately concerning a potential match between Eubank Jr. and 147-pound compatriot Benn for June 3 in Abu Dhabi.
Eubank and Benn were supposed to fight last October in a 157-pound catchweight bout, but several days before the night of the fight, Benn was revealed to have tested positive for a banned substance, clomifene, a fertility drug that boosts testosterone when used by men. It was subsequently revealed a few weeks later that Benn had failed a separate test in the summer for the same substance.
After that fiasco, Eubank entered into a middleweight bout with Liverpool’s Smith in January. Although he was the clear underdog, Smith came away with one of the biggest upsets of the year, stopping Eubank in four rounds.
And while Eubank has activated his rematch clause with Smith, contracts have not been signed, which has left room for Eubank to reconsider a fight with Benn, who was recently reinstated into the welterweight rankings of the World Boxing Council.
With that development, Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has pushed to get Benn back into the ring, albeit on foreign soil. Because Benn is still under investigation by the British Boxing Board of Control, he cannot legally fight in the UK for the foreseeable future.
Hearn has insisted for weeks that Eubank Jr. was a top candidate to fight Benn this summer, along with Manny Pacquiao.
The Sun, a British tabloid, reported on Monday that Eubank-Benn was essentially set for Abu Dhabi on June 3.
In an interview with talkSPORT on Tuesday, Sauerland tried to temper suggestions that Eubank-Benn was a done deal, saying they’ve only “flirted” with the idea.
“We’ve activated the rematch clause [with Smith] subject to the contract,” Sauerland said. “Is it not signed? It’s not announced, let’s put it that way. That’s business on our side. If the contract’s not right, the contract’s not right.
“What I want is for Jr. to put things right to Smith and to fight Benn. How that works, time will tell, and it won’t be long. He wants to fight in June—currently [that’s] Smith. I can categorically say we have not had one formal proposal from Matchroom’s side yet. We have had a discussion, but we are aligned right now to fight Smith at this moment in time.”
“Chris is a fighter, so he concentrates on what’s actually on the table,” Sauerland added. “What’s on the table right now is Liam Smith. So that’s what he’s focused on.”
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