Monday, February 26, 2024  |



Liam Smith drops Chris Eubank Jr. twice, scores fourth round stoppage in Manchester

Fighters Network

Liam Smith stepped up to middleweight and scored a rousing knockout over pre-fight favorite Chris Eubank Jr. in four rounds on Saturday at the Manchester Arena, Manchester, England.

Smith was the aggressor from the opening bell, while Eubank Jr. attempted to score with a jab and pot shots from the outside in a close first round. The second followed a similar path.

However, Eubank kicked things up a gear in the third boxing behind a strong jab but also found a home for a handful of hard right uppercuts.

Things dramatically turned on it’s head in the fourth round when Smith, 34, trapped Eubank on the ropes in a corner. Eubank Jr. looked to use lateral movement to ride out the adversity, but pulled out high and was caught flush by a devastating uppercut that saw him knocked down for the first time in his career. Although Eubank beat the count, he was on unsteady legs. Referee Victor Loughlin allowed the fight to continue and Eubank Jr. looked to try to grab on but Smith wouldn’t be denied and was able to drop Eubank Jr. a second time.

The fight was stopped with Eubank on his feet at the 1:09 mark.

Eubank, who drops to (32-3, 23 knockouts) spoke about invoking his rematch clause, while Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) said he’d be happy to entertain a rematch if Eubank Jr. wanted it. Either way, Smith is primed for something bigger later this year.

Smith, The Ring’s No. 7 rated junior middleweight, was fighting for the second straight time at the middleweight limit. Eubank, The Ring rated No. 5 middleweight, weighed in at 159 pounds, the same as Smith, and his lightest weight since 2014.

Richard Riakporhe (16-0, 12 KOs), The Ring rated No. 9 cruiserweight, scored a career best win over former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki (32-4, 20 KOs) in four rounds.

Riakporhe hurt the 36-year-old Glowacki in Round 2 and proceeded to dominate from there. The big-punching Londoner shook Glowacki, who had previously shared a ring with the likes of Marco Huck, Oleksandr Usyk, Mairis Briedis and Lawrence Okolie, in center ring and backed his rival into a corner with a combination before the Pole was rescued from further harm by referee Howard Foster at 2:44 of Round 4.

Afterwards the impressive Riakporhe, 33, called out all four cruiserweight champions and said he hopes to meet one of them next. On this showing he would be a handful for any of them.

Unbeaten welterweight Ekou Essuman (19-0, 7 KOs) held off the game Chris Kongo (14-2, 7 KOs) to win a hard-fought 12-round majority decision. The 33-year-old Botswana-born fighter, who lives in Nottingham, retained his British,  Commonwealth and other sanctioning body trinkets but was made to work for things. 

Essuman started and finished the fight well though Kongo came on well in the middle rounds. In the final round, Essuman threatened to score a knockdown but Congo was able to stay on his feet. At the conclusion of the fight nobody was really sure who had won. The judges scored the fight 116-113 and 115-114 for Essuman, the other scorecard read 114-114. Essuman looks ready for something bigger and a fight with either Michael McKinson or David Avanesyan would be intriguing on British shores.

Former heavyweight titleholder Joseph Parker (31-3, 21 KOs) rebounded from a loss to Joe Joyce but beating Jack Massey (20-2, 11 KOs) over 10-rounds. The 31-year-old New Zealander outworked Massey, who was stepping up to heavyweight for the first time, but was unable to stop him and had to be content to claim the unanimous decision. Parker, who stayed in the hunt for something bigger, won on the scorecards 97-92, 97-93 and 96-93.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].