A huge night of action is coming to Sky Sports Box Office when Liam Smith continues his intense rivalry with Chris Eubank Jr and Savannah Marshall challenges Franchon Crews-Dezurn for the undisputed super-middleweight title on July 1; rising star Ben Whittaker will join the bill
Tuesday 9 May 2023 17:42, UK
Liam Smith's rematch against Chris Eubank Jr has been given a new date of July 1, two weeks later than originally scheduled, at the AO Arena in Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
The huge night of action headlined by Smith vs Eubank II and featuring Franchon Crews-Dezurn's undisputed title fight with Savannah Marshall was set to take place on Saturday June 17, but has now been moved back a fortnight at the same venue.
The date change to July 1 comes following a request from Smith, who wanted to adjust his training camp for a two-week period in order to allow the healing of a minor injury which had begun flaring up.
With Eubank Jr consenting to the move, the two rivals will now return to the AO Manchester Arena in July, almost five months to the day from the four-round January firefight which took place in front of a sold-out crowd in the same venue - joined by a massive television audience watching on pay-per-view - and ended with Smith winning by stoppage in the first minute of the fourth round.
Determined to avenge the defeat and square the record between them, Eubank Jr activated the contracted rematch clause to set up a summer showdown which has taken their rivalry to new heights.
Smith explained: “It’s just an old injury niggle flaring up but I want to take the time to let it heal up so that I can enter the ring at 100 per cent on fight night, because a 100 per cent Liam Smith beats Chris Eubank Jr every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
Eubank Jr has warned: "Liam had the night of his life against me in January, the stars aligned for him in Manchester, and he went away with a big win.
"But lightning doesn't strike twice. If he even has the slightest thought that he can beat me again, then great, because it will be his undoing."
The rest of the bill will stay the same with rising light star Ben Whittaker joining the card.
The co-headline bout remains in place, with former middleweight world champion Marshall challenging undisputed world super-middleweight champion Crews-Dezurn for the unified WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF world 168lb titles.
It will be Marshall's second consecutive undisputed championship fight after her ground-breaking clash with Claressa Shields at the O2 Arena last year.
"I'm grateful to BOXXER and Hennessy Sports for getting this fight over the line. This is a big fight for me and a chance to become a two-weight world champion," 'The Silent Assassin' Marshall said.
Crews-Dezurn said: "I'm so excited that my team and BOXXER were finally able to get this fight done. I'm looking forward to fighting in Manchester, England, especially against a competitor like Savannah Marshall, who has represented the UK for many years just as I have represented the United States for many years, including as amateurs.
"This fight has been over 10 years in the making and it's going to be one for the history books. I love to elevate women's boxing and put on a great display for the people here in the UK.
"The fans have embraced women's boxing so much here and I'm coming for the win, regardless of being in Savannah's backyard or any other adversity stacked against me. I'm fully confident in myself and my team and I look forward to putting on a great show for the people."
There will be further world title action on the bill with 2022 Boxer of the Year Natasha Jonas making a defence of her unified WBO, WBC and IBF super-welterweight titles.
Her challenger will be announced in the coming days.
Light-heavyweight sensation Whittaker considers 'Prince' Naseem Hamed one of his greatest inspirations and paid tribute to his idol in style on Saturday night with a stunning blend of skills and showboating which had him trending across UK social media.
The electrifying young talent won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics and is widely-tipped by boxing insiders to become a dominant world champion in the professional ranks and a potential all-time great. In July, Manchester fans will have their first chance to witness his magic in person.
British super-middleweight champion Mark Heffron - a Champs Camp stablemate of Jonas under the tutelage of two-time trainer of the year Joe Gallagher - will defend the prestigious Lonsdale Belt against Zak Chelli in a certain crowd-pleaser.
Chelli goes into the title challenge off the back of a stunning, career-best performance against American standout Anthony Sims Jr earlier this year.
Having recently been mandated for the British title, the Londoner will now be hoping to cause a mighty upset in the North West when he stands toe-to-toe with Oldham native Heffron.
All tickets purchased for the originally-scheduled date remain valid for the newly-announced July 1 date. Ticket-holders who cannot attend the rescheduled date can obtain a full refund by contacting their ticket provider.