Liam Smith looks forward to his middleweight showdown with Chris Eubank Jr and the chance to cement his legacy in British boxing; "I know it can't be anything other than a good fight," says Smith, "and it's one that I'm massively confident in"
Friday 25 November 2022 14:36, UK
Liam Smith is convinced his clash with Chris Eubank Jr can only result in an explosive collision, and that it will deliver him a memorable victory.
Smith is a former world champion who is stepping up to middleweight to take on his British rival at the AO Arena in Manchester on January 21.
"I'm excited about it," Smith told Sky Sports. "I know it can't be anything other than a good fight and it's one that I'm massively confident in.
"I just think I beat Chris Eubank Jr, it'll cement me as a big name in British boxing. I'm massively confident of doing that."
Smith believes Eubank's style of boxing has changed under the influence of Roy Jones, the boxing legend who has been training him. But he's adamant that once they both start trading blows Eubank will be unable to resist marching forward and engaging directly.
That is exactly the type of fight the Liverpool man wants.
"Style-wise, he's at his best when he's having a fight with people and he's trying to show his fitness and he's got a good chin. He's at his best in that sense and I feel I'm at my best in that sense also, when I'm coming to have a fight with somebody and trying to walk or break somebody down," Smith said.
"The emphasis is going to be on Chris trying to box the way Roy's got him boxing. I feel like I capitalise on that all day," Smith continued. "[Then] he can only revert to what he likes and what he knows and that's to come and have a fight.
"I think the fight can only revert to that and then once it reverts to that, it's going to catch fire and I'll welcome it with open arms."
Smith believes regardless of whether Eubank fights on the front foot or the back foot, he will punish him.
"I rate him to a certain extent but I know he's going to be a tough fight for anybody because of the stuff he brings. He's a good athlete, he's strong, he's fit. I feel he's got loads of vulnerabilities to his game that I can capitalise on," he said.
"With 10 ounce gloves on, I land the right shot on anyone's chin, I'm confident I can hurt anybody. Chris Eubank Jr's no different. He's got a good chin but anybody can be knocked out."
Victory in this fight would be one of the biggest moments in Smith's career, for professional as much as personal reasons.
"As a person he's not really my cup of tea, from what he shows me," Smith said. "As soon as our names started getting linked, I was vocal on it. I thought fire away, if I get offered that fight I'll take it.
"There's nothing better than a domestic rivalry and a domestic dust up. When you get two big names, there's nothing better than the build-up towards it.
"This is a massive fight for me and it's going to be a massive fight in British boxing."
Rather than fighting at a catchweight, Smith is moving up from super-welter to middleweight for this bout.
That concession should favour Eubank, the larger man. But Smith sees an admission of weakness there.
"I would have liked it to be 159, 158lbs. But you've seen the big stink with the 157lb thing with Conor Benn [for the fight that fell through] and I knew I was never going to get him that low," Smith said.
"But I also know that with the fear and doubtful side on their part also they're not going to fight me at 157 or 158lbs, they won't even fight me at 159lbs. They know they're in a fight. They know their weakness in the fight also. So they're not going to give me any advantage because they know they're in a fight this time.
"I do think he respects me," he added. "He'd be stupid not to.
"I've taken this on my terms, when I'm ready and I will be ready for January 21."