A grudge rematch tops a BOXXER-promoted bill at the AO Arena in Manchester this Saturday evening, as Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr lock horns once more over twelve rounds at middleweight.
Sky Sports Box Office is the place to see the Smith vs Eubank Jr in the UK, while ESPN+ televise the card in the USA.
Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) entered the ring in the same arena back in January as the underdog, but he hurt Eubank Jr (32-3, 23 KOs) badly in the fourth round, and overwhelmed the Brighton man to take a fourth round stoppage victory.
The 33-year-old has claimed an illegal punch, a slip, and not enough recovery time from the knockdowns as his reasons to activate his rematch clause.
‘Beefy’ Smith has only lost in good company, shipping his WBO super welterweight title to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2016 (L-KO9), and was spirited in a points defeat to Jaime Munguia in 2018 for his old title.
The 35-year-old’s last reverse was a contentious points loss to Magomed Kurbanov in 2021 in Russia and he has won four on the spin since.
Eubank Jr was on a run of six straight wins following a 2018 points loss to George Groves, but his appearances have been sporadic, and he has employed a number of trainers, dispensing with Roy Jones Jr for this bout in favour of Terence Crawford’s coach, Brian ‘Bo Mac’ McIntyre.
Prediction: Smith knows he has the beating of Eubank Jr, and will have added confidence ahead of the rematch. I expect a war, and for Smith to prevail in the later rounds.
Mayer meets Bortot
Mikaela Mayer appears on this card, and she campaigns at super lightweight for the first time, taking a ten round assignment against Italy’s former European champion, Silvia Bortot.
Mayer (18-1, 5 KOs) dropped her IBF and WBO super featherweight crowns to Alycia Baumgardner in October last year, but returned in April, outscoring Lucy Wildheart to take the Interim WBC title at lightweight.
Prediction: The American should have more than enough for Bortot (11-2-1, 3 KOs), and can take a wide points win.
Heffron-Cullen in British title battle
There’s British title action on offer, with Mark Heffron defending his British super middleweight title for the first time against Jack Cullen.
Heffron (29-2-1, 23 KOs) won the Lonsdale Belt in July last year, stopping Lennox Clarke in five rounds, but injury has hampered him since.
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Cullen (21-4-1, 9 KOs) has lost two of his last three, the last a fourth round stoppage to Diego Pacheco in March.
Prediction: When Cullen loses, it’s before the final bell, so I favour Heffron to retain in the middle rounds.
Clarke clashes with Allen
2020 Olympic Bronze medalist, Frazer Clarke (7-0, 5 KOs), should deal with the faded force that is Dave Allen (21-5-2, 18 KOs) inside the distance at heavyweight.
Highly-touted Adam Azim (8-0, 6 KOs) returns from a lay-off, and the talented Slough super lightweight can again dazzle with an early win in his scheduled ten rounder against Ukrainian Aram Fanilan (23-1, 5 KOs).
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Big ticket seller Florian Marku (12-0-1, 7 KOs) also sees action, and the Albanian can win a wild fight against Dylan Moran (18-1, 8 KOs) by stoppage at welterweight.
Lightweight prospect Frankie Stringer (5-0) can continue his education by banking a points win over six against Christian Lopez Flores (14-27-2, 12 KOs).
2020 Olympic Gold medalist, Lauren Price (4-0, 1 KO) is set to feature on the bill against an opponent to be confirmed.