Liam Smith “weight drained” for Chris Eubank Jr. fight says promoter Ben Shalom

09/03/2023 - By Rob Smith - Comments

Promoter Ben Shalom revealed last night that Liam Smith was weight-drained for his fight with Chris Eubank Jr. last Saturday night in Manchester. The former WBO junior middleweight champion Smith (33-4-1, 20 KOs) had an injury in camp, making it necessary to lose 42 lbs.

Eubank Jr. (33-3, 24 KOs), who came into the fight as an underdog, took advantage of Smith being sluggish & weak by dropping him twice, once in round four and a final time in round ten, to get a tenth round knockout.

Smith’s promoter Shalom noted that this wasn’t the same Liam that fought Eubank Jr. the first time last January & knocked him out in the fourth round.

In addition to being weight drained, Smith had a left ankle injury that occurred in the fourth round, causing him problems with his footing the rest of the way. The way that Smith’s ankle folded throughout the fight, it almost looked broken.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to know for certain how the weight cut and the ankle injury impacted the performance of Smith. It obviously didn’t help him.

But even if he were completely healthy, he would have needed to be extra special to win because Eubank Jr. fought well, using the punch-and-grab strategy from his new coach Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre.

Who would have thought a great coach like BoMac would borrow the old John Ruiz tactic? The clinching that Eubank Jr. did would have made it difficult for Smith under any circumstance because he seemed clueless in dealing with it and never adapted to it.

It is hard to believe that a fighter with over ten years of experience like Smith wouldn’t know how to handle a fighter who is gaming the system by using excessive clinching as a tactic to win.

Nevertheless, Smith looked like he’d never fought anyone who had used that kind of a game plan against him. 

Liam Smith weight drained

“He had the injury for a little while, his camp was short, and he had to lose a lot of weight. I’m not making excuses, but I can’t believe what he had to come through to be here tonight,” said promoter Ben Shalom to Fight Hub TV about the hell that Liam Smith had to go through during training camp, leaving him in a weakened position for his bout with Chris Eubank Jr.

“He deserves a lot of credit for that, but ultimately, he was sluggish. He wasn’t the Liam Smith that I’ve seen and am used to. He’ll be gutted, but as I say, credit to him because he kept on a massive night for us.

“He’s given us too huge night at the Manchester Arena. It was an incredible atmosphere again. Chris was superb tonight.

“Look, it’s weird with boxing. The first fight, when we announced it, people said, ‘What’s the point? Chris is too big. It’s not a pay-per-view. It’s not close,’ then obviously, Liam did what he did. Then, when we called for the rematch, people said, ‘What’s the point in that because Liam is going to walk through him again?’

“You never know in boxing. It’s all about preparation at this level with what’s going on behind the scenes. I know Chris’ preparation for the first fight was terrible. I know Liam’s was tough. They both had to come through a lot. It was like a Yin and yang performance.

“I think Liam would want another big fight. I think he deserves one he can prepare for, but let’s see. I think they both need a bit of time.

“It’s not the weight division. I saw him two weeks ago, and I hope he wouldn’t mind me saying this, but he was big,” Shalom said when asked if Liam Smith should move up to 168 if it’s too difficult for him to make 160.

“I was thinking, ‘How is he going to do this?’ And I was even thinking, ‘Should we change the weight? Should we move it up?’ It’s not about making the weight. He’s absolutely fine, but because of the injury, he couldn’t train for a long time.

“So, it meant once he got back in the gym, he had a lot to do in a short period of time, and in the end, losing that amount of weight very quickly is always going to affect the fight,” said Shalom.

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