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Liam Smith welcomes future fight with Janibek Alimkhanuly: 'I'm desperate to be world champion again'

Liam Smith will rematch Chris Eubank Jr on the July 1 Sky Sports Box Office bill; Smith wants victory to set himself up for a second world title; He would welcome a fight with formidable WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly, who boxes Steven Butler this weekend live on Sky Sports

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Watch unseen footage of Liam Smith's sensational stoppage victory over Chris Eubank Jr in Manchester

Liam Smith is determined to repeat a victory over Chris Eubank Jr in their July 1 rematch and then challenge for a second world title.

Liverpool's Smith, formerly the WBO super-welterweight belt-holder, longs to become a two-time world champion.

He would be willing to challenge Kazakhstan's formidable WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly, who fights Steven Butler in the early hours of Sunday morning live on Sky Sports.

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Sky Sports News' Eleanor Roper and John Dennen reflect on the first press conference for Smith v Eubank 2

"He's not really high risk, low reward because the reward is his world title," Smith told Sky Sports.

"The Denzel Bentley fight has brought [Alimkhanuly] down a peg, but still a very good fight. I've known of him for a bit, I watched him in the Olympics, saw him beat [Anthony] Fowler in the Olympics. He's still only had 13 fights, a good fighter."

His ultimate goal is that second world title. "If I get raved about I don't sit here thinking, 'Wow, I'm the man, everyone's raving about me.' It is what it is," he explained.

"One of the parts I'm gutted over - why I want to be world champion again - the world title was won and probably put on top of the washing basket. I just didn't cherish being world champion.

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"I didn't know how big it was. That's why I'm desperate, I'd love to be world champion again. Because I'd cherish every bit of it. I know what it means.

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Chris Eubank Jr has admitted his 'career is on the line' in the rematch against British rival Liam Smith on Saturday, July 1

"That's what I'd love."

A second victory over Eubank, when they fight on July 1 live on Sky Sports Box Office, would confirm Smith as a world class middleweight.

"I've been the best 154lbs [boxer] in Britain for I don't know how many years now. I'm now the best 160lbs too," Smith said.

"I'll just keep proving the points in what's in my control. I'm fighting Chris, I'll prove a point - I'm a better fighter than Chris. I feel now people will fully realise that.

"You had a lot of people who could have thought I was a better fighter than him, but maybe still thought Chris would win because it was at middleweight," he continued.

"I was going to middleweight, he was classed as a big middleweight. That could have been a lot of people's picks. But now people know - nevermind I'm big enough for it, I can fully hurt him at it too.

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Adam Azim predicts Liam "Beefy" Smith will defeat Eubank Jr again

"You put a poll out now 'Who wins this fight?' I think it would be 80-20 me on the percentages."

He must however beat Eubank Jr to put himself in the frame for another world title shot, whether that's at middleweight or requires him to return to super-welter.

"I beat him, I'm in a good position. Because it doesn't harm me in any way. I'll beat Chris in the rematch now, no governing body's going to drop me in any rankings," Smith said.

"The WBO have now moved me to No 2 [at middleweight] and put Golovkin in as a No 1 so I'm not sure what's going to happen there. I beat Chris, I'll probably stay [in line to be] mandatory there.

"I'm also mandatory for the WBC 154lb [title]. The WBC mandatory might be next in line at 154lbs.

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Chris Eubank Jr says Liam Smith landed a 'once in a lifetime' punch as he suffered a fourth-round stoppage loss to his British rival in Manchester

"I just need to concentrate on Chris. I beat Chris again, I'm sitting in a good position."

He insisted, with confidence clear in his voice: "I beat Chris once, I'll beat him twice."

If he secures another spectacular finish, he'll be a threat to any of the elite, at 160 or 154lbs.

'He won't even be able to touch me'

Alimkhanuly defends his title this weekend at the Stockton Arena in California against Canada's Steven Butler, live on Sky Sports.

He is threatening a more dominant showing than in his last bout against Britain's Denzel Bentley.

"I prepared very well for this fight. I don't want to just defend my title. I want to unify titles," Alimkhanuly said.

"In my last fight, I fought all 12 rounds, and I felt like something was missing. So, we added a new conditioning coach, and he has helped me a lot. I had a very good preparation. I really enjoy working with Buddy McGirt at Brickhouse Boxing.

MANTECA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 11: Janibek Alimkhanuly (L) and Steven Butler (R) pose during the press conference prior to their May 13 WBO middleweight championship fight at Great Wolf Lodge on May 11, 2023 in Manteca, California. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Image: Watch Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Steven Butler live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 2am on Sunday morning

"I got a new conditioning coach because I understand that it will help me grow. If you keep doing the same things, then you will stay in the same place. I wanted to grow.

"I wanted to fight Jermall Charlo. I wanted to fight Erislandy Lara. In order to do that, I knew that I had to make changes."

Butler warned that looking at other fights was a risk. "He'll be making a big mistake if he tries to think past me. I want to knock him out. I want the belt. That's it," he said.

"I've learned a lot. I started boxing when I was 11 years old. I'm 27 now. So, I have a lot experience behind me. When I put it all together on Saturday night, I'm going to shock the world.

MANTECA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 11: Janibek Alimkhanuly (L) and Steven Butler (R) face-off during the press conference prior to their May 13 WBO middleweight championship fight at Great Wolf Lodge on May 11, 2023 in Manteca, California. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images).
Image: Alimkhanuly and Butler face off (Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

"This means a lot to me. It's a dream come true. We have worked a long time for this title shot," he added.

"I'm scared of nobody. I've taken risks my whole life. Janibek is a good boxer. I have nothing bad to say about him. But we worked hard in this training camp. I've worked hard my entire life for this fight."

But Alimkhanuly concluded: "As a fighter, I really respect him because he says what he thinks. But I'm going to show him that not only will he not be able to knock me out, he won't even be able to touch me."

Watch Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Steven Butler live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 2am on Sunday morning.

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