Chris Eubank Jr. remains locked in on the fight immediately ahead of him but had to take a step back to briefly revisit the past.
The current middleweight contender has done his best to move on from the debacle that led to his canceled fight with fellow second-generation boxer Conor Benn last October. Their highly anticipated grudge match was on the ropes once it was learned that Benn tested positive for a banned substance more than a month prior to their planned October 8 clash. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) eventually announced its refusal to sanction the event, leading to the cancellation.
Benn subsequently and voluntarily relinquished his British boxing license ahead of a planned October 21 hearing before the Board of the BBBofC. He remains under investigation by the WBC, as the test along with another adverse finding discovered from earlier last summer are in violation of the sanctioning body’s Clean Boxing Program regarding random drug testing.
Benn (21-0, 14KOs) has randomly provided his version of updates to the matter, mostly behind social media quotes that equate to motivational messages. The most recent post came Monday, where the welterweight contender—whose father Nigel was a former two-division champion in the 1990s—suggested that a better day is on the horizon.
“Been through hell and back. Thank God for science,” noted Benn, who has not fought since a second-round knockout of Chris van Heerden last April 16 in Manchester, England. “The evidence doesn’t lie. No holes in the truth.”
His longtime out-of-ring adversary doesn’t quite see it that way.
“I’m pretty sure it was science that detected the illegal substances in your system on two separate occasions Conor,” Eubank stated. “So yes absolutely thank god for science… otherwise I would of been fighting the hulk a few months ago.”
The statement by Eubank (32-2, 23KOs)—whose father Chris Sr. held the WBO middleweight and super middleweight titles during the 1990s—came ahead of a scheduled twelve-round middleweight clash with Liverpool’s Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (32-3-1, 19KOs), a former WBO junior middleweight titlist. The two meet this Saturday atop a Sky Sports Box Office event in the UK, which also airs live on DAZN in the U.S. (and other select markets) from AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Eubank has not fought since a twelve-round, unanimous decision over former title challenger Liam Williams last February 5 on the road in Cardiff, Wales. Eubank floored the Welshman four times en route to posting his sixth straight win since a twelve-round defeat to then WBA super middleweight titlist George Groves in their February 2018 World Boxing Super Series tournament semifinal meeting.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox