Chris Eubank Jr v Liam Smith: Predictions from pros and pundits for middleweight fight

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Venue: AO Arena, Manchester Date: Saturday, 21 January
Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra from 20:00 GMT and main card from 22:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 Live; live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app.

Chris Eubank Jr faces Liam Smith in an intriguing all-British middleweight fight at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday.

Both men are on impressive winning streaks and have promised big performances.

Smith, 34, has stopped his past three opponents while Eubank’s last defeat was in 2018 to then-world champion George Groves.

The fight will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live from 22:00 GMT, while the BBC Sport website will have a live text commentary page from 20:00 GMT, featuring all the build-up and undercard action on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra.

We have asked big names from the world of boxing for their opinions on the big fight.

Featherweight world champion Leigh Wood: “I think Smith will win on points. Both fighters will get hurt and Eubank has got a chin but Liam has more push in him and his style will make it tough for Eubank.”

Former light-middleweight world champion Hannah Rankin: “I see Eubank coming out on top. However, I think it’s going to be a lot harder than people think. It’s not going to be a walkover for him.”

5 Live boxing analyst Barry Jones: “As soon as it was announced I really fancied Smith – he won’t make a dent in Eubank, but I don’t think Smith will care.”

Heavyweight Frazer Clarke: “Liam Smith on points. But I would not be surprised one bit if Eubank came out and is absolutely exceptional. It has happened before with Chris Eubank.”

Unified light-middleweight world champion Natasha Jonas: “Liam Smith on points. The first four rounds will be the most telling for Eubank, he needs to build up a lead. We know that Liam comes back strong. Down the home straight he’s been there a million times and gets better as the fight goes on.

“We saw that against Fowler and in his last fight against Vargas. We know that’s coming, so how you start is imperative and it has to be a good start. If you think you’re going to start slow and try and work him out, that’s not going to happen because he’s going to work you out first.”

Former world champion George Groves: “I can imagine Smith is mentally very tough but physically I don’t know. I make Eubank a chunky favourite but it’s definitely a banana skin.”

Cruiserweight Scott Forrest: “Liam will be too much for him. Too strong. Eubank’s got a good chin so I think Liam will win on points.”

Trainer and former world champion Andy Lee: “It could go either way. I slightly favour Eubank but I can see a win for Smith as well.”

Former heavyweight champion David Haye: “I think Chris Eubank Jr is an exceptional fighter. I don’t think he’s been able to express how good he is. I’m expecting him to go in there fully loaded because Liam is the guy to really bring the best out of him.”

Middleweight Liam Williams: “I’ve boxed them both. I am personally going with a Liam Smith win. I don’t think either of them are going to stop each other but I think Liam is better schooled than Eubank.”

5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce: “I just fancy Chris Eubank. But I do think what we’ve seen in Manchester this week, that will have an effect on the fight.”


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