Chris Eubank Jr. never wavered from the belief that history would not repeat itself.
The second-generation middleweight didn’t quite honor his pre-fight promise to not even smile after he would gain revenge on Liverpool’s Liam Smith but backed up every other word after one of the best showings of his career. Eubank rebounded from an upset, fourth-round knockout loss on January 21 to dominate his countryman in a one-sided, tenth-round stoppage in their September 2 rematch at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
“I’m not gonna lie, what happened [Saturday] was supposed to happen in January,” Eubank insisted after his win. “Like I said, it wasn’t my night. I trained hard for that fight, I trained hard for this fight. The focus was always there.”
Brighton’s Eubank (33-3, 24KOs) was ahead through three rounds in their January 21 meeting before a disastrous fourth round saw him dropped for the first and second times in his twelve-year career. The latter led to his lone stoppage defeat, which was emphatically avenged on Saturday. Eubank was a slight underdog by the opening bell but entered fight week confident that everything was done right the second time around.
It meant surrounding himself with a new team, as he trained under the guidance of Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre for this past camp. The manner in which he healthily made weight was visible in his fully replenished middleweight frame. Most of all, he was fueled by the determination to convince his doubters that he was always better than Smith (33-4-1, 20KOs) and that nothing short of full-blown revenge was an acceptable outcome.
“It had to be,” Eubank said. “I had no other choice. There’s too many other big fights out there for me that the fans want to see and that I have to be involved in.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox