Chris Eubank Jr. is on the verge of revisiting past business.
Which door he chooses to walk through, however, remains up in the air.
BoxingScene.com has learned that plans are back in play for a Eubank-Conor Benn grudge match. The previously canceled battle between second-generation boxers is now being eyed for a June 3 DAZN show from Abu Dhabi, as first reported by UK-based The Sun Sport.
The resurfaced clash comes about as Eubank Jr. is also—or at least supposed to be—in discussion for a rematch with Liam Smith, whose team awaits further instructions for the fight their side expects to take place in the coming months.
Representatives for Smith’s team and Boxxer were not in position to comment due to the ongoing development.
Inquiries placed with Wasserman and Matchroom Boxing, the promoters for Eubank and Benn, respectively, were not immediately returned as this goes to publication. However, Benn acknowledged the rumors in the form of posting a caption on his Instagram channel on Monday, along with a poll asking his followers if they believe he will end the still-rumored fight within four rounds.
Should the Benn-Eubank bout move forward, it is suggested that it would take place at the full middleweight limit.
Eubank (32-3, 23KOs) and Benn (21-0, 14KOs) were due to meet last October 8 at The O2 in London at a maximum contracted weight of 157 pounds.
The pairing initially generated major headlines due to familiar bloodlines. The event made the news for all the wrong reasons during fight week, when it was learned that Benn previously tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene. The threat of cancellation ultimately became a reality when the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) refused to sanction the show in present form.
Benn relinquished his BBBofC license prior to a scheduled October 21 hearing. The move prevented the governing body from suspending Benn, though it also forbids the unbeaten welterweight from fighting on UK soil, hence the decision for his comeback fight to take place in Abu Dhabi. He was also removed from the rankings of all four major sanctioning bodies (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO) after having made his way to the top five in each.
The WBC has since reinstated Benn’s placement after a thorough review of his 276-page reveal. The Mexico City-based sanctioning body concluded that Benn unknowingly ingested the banned substance due to “an elevated consumption of eggs,” though he returned at number-seven, two spots lower from his previous placement before his temporary removal.
Oddly, the provided alibi was dismissed by Benn himself, who continues to maintain his innocence.
Meanwhile, Eubank Jr. opted to move forward with his career though at a cost.
He entered a middleweight fight versus Liverpool’s Smith (33-3-1, 19KOs), who earned a fourth-round stoppage in their January 21 Sky Sports Pay-Per-View headliner from AO Arena in Manchester. Smith was in attendance at that very venue for a Boxxer show on Saturday, as was former welterweight titlist Kell Brook who was the previously rumored frontrunner to next face Benn in June.
At that moment, it was still believed that Eubank was going to next face Smith. The Brighton native exercised a rematch clause in February, though only a targeted time frame has come for the proposed second fight in lieu of a confirmed date and location. Smith was legally bound to a second Eubank meeting to the point of having to bow out of an ordered mandatory title challenge versus WBO middleweight titlist Janibek Alimkhanuly, who will next face Canada’s Steven Butler in a May 13 voluntary defense.
The latest development could leave Smith without a fight altogether, depending on what is decided by Eubank.
Either way, firm plans are in place for Ilford's Benn, whose father Nigel was a former two-division titlist in the 1990s to headline the June 3 show absent the ability to land an opponent of any kind. That part does not figure to be a problem. Eubank, Brook and former eight-division champ Manny Pacquiao have all been mentioned as potential foes.
Benn has not fought since a second-round knockout of Chris van Heerden last April 16 at AO Arena.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox