Promoter Ben Shalom is due to hold talks with Chris Eubank Jr about what happens next in his career this week.
Boxxer’s Shalom has worked with Eubank on the two Box Office bouts with Liam Smith this year, the first was won by the Liverpudlian in January but Eubank levelled the score in September.
There has been intense speculation that Eubank will fight Conor Benn next, but Shalom is not so sure.
“We’ll see, we still speak,” said Shalom. “We’re speaking to Kalle [Sauerland, who promotes Eubank] and due to actually speak to him this week. I think Chris [Eubank Jr.] has obviously enjoyed some time off. He had a very, very tough couple of years [including the passing of his brother, Seb] – he wasn’t out of the gym, he had two cancelled fights, two fights that did happen, and managed to turn it around, which I think everyone was very impressed by. So I think he’s taking his time, and we’ll see. I don’t expect him, from what I can see, to fight this year, despite what’s been said, so we’ll pick up with Kalle I’m sure.”
While Eubank is a Wasserman fighter, Shalom is clearly interested in working with him again.
“Look, we’ll put our offers into Wasserman, Sauerland, and Chris Eubank Jr.’s team, and see if we can do something,” Shalom stated. “We’ve worked with Chris in his last four fights, [we] love working with Chris. He brings great numbers, and he’s a great character for British boxing, and to see how he performed last time, was really amazing to see because the Liam Williams performance wasn’t great, the first Liam Smith fight was really, really poor, and he sort of needed it, and it spun him into action, and we saw a different side to Chris Eubank Jr. I’d love to work with Chris again.”
Afterwards, Smith cited weight-making as an issue and declared he had been unable to fully train because of an injury. Shalom feels the performance showed that. Smith had stopped Eubank in four rounds earlier in the year, but was halted in 10 in the rematch. Shalom is also talking to the former champion.
“He clearly had an injury on September 2nd, I think he’s dealing with that at the moment, I don’t think he’ll fight until early next year,” Shalom said. “We’re speaking to him, he wants to continue and wants to have another fight, he knows that wasn’t him [in the Eubank rematch]. I think everybody knows if you take those [two] performances in isolation, look at the January performance, and then look at the September performance, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that there was something that wasn’t right. I hope he deals with his injury, gives it enough time, and then I do think we’ll see him back next year.”
Shalom recently saw Dan Azeez pull out of the Joshua Buatsi fight at the 11th hour because he was injured. Should Smith have done the same thing?
“The problem, I think, was that it [the fight] was delayed, and it was a big payday for both fighters,” Shalom added. “It was a fight that I think Liam [Smith] didn’t want to let his fans down. I remember the first time that it was delayed, there was an issue with the hotels, with the tickets, with the people who had bought them, and it hurt him. So he did everything he could to be fit, and it’s not good to look back with regrets, but I think it’s clear that he wasn’t fit on the night. Whether it would have made any difference, we don’t know, because Chris [Eubank Jr.] was phenomenal that night, but it clearly wasn’t Liam Smith’s best performance.”