We gauge the pre-fight thoughts of 20 fighters, promoters and trainers as Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith get set to collide in Manchester on Saturday night.
Two contrasting personalities will lock horns in an intriguing middleweight 'Battle of Britain' this weekend, to kick off what promises to be a hugely exciting year of UK boxing.
Just over a year ago Eubank settled his rivalry with Liam Williams, dominating the Welshman for 12 rounds while Smith had two outings in 2022 including an impressive display against Jessie Vargas.
After Conor Benn was ruled out of a proposed October 7th fight date Eubank needed a new rival; a new dance partner - and Smith didn’t need to be asked twice!
The no-nonsense Liverpudlian has been aiming for a fight against the brash 33-year-old ever since he joined Ben Shalom’s BOXXER stable.
But now the fight has been made, who will win on January 21st? We put the question to 20 British boxing personalities to get their take...
"I'm going for Liam Smith on points!"
“This will be a great fight between two come forward fighters. They are both all-action and that always guarantees a great fight for fans. My prediction for the fight is Chris Eubank Jr to win on points by unanimous decision.”
"It’s a real close fight and I’m really struggling to pick between them, but I’d edge just towards Chris Eubank Jr.”
"For me it’s a pick ‘em because it all depends on what Liam Smith has left in the tank. He’s performed at a higher level than Chris Eubank Jr and performed better at that elite level than Eubank Jr has too. So, I’d edge towards Liam Smith depending on what he’s got left in the tank."
"I think Chris Eubank Jr wins. He’s the natural bigger guy and although Liam Smith is aggressive and comes forward, I think he’ll play into Eubank’s hands with his new style. It’ll be similar to the [Liam] Williams fight in terms of style but more competitive.”
"This is a tough fight to call. I think it will be a tough, close first half of the fight but Liam Smith will come on stronger in the second half and win on points.”
"I am going for Chris Eubank Jr."
"I think Liam Smith wins. He could have some tough moments because of Chris Eubank Jr's explosive punching power, but I think Smith is the more well-schooled, and better defensively. I can see a late stoppage win for him.”
"I’m going for Liam Smith - it's down to experience at a higher level for me.”
"This is a real 50-50 scrap, but I think Chris Eubank Jr takes it on points. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if it finished earlier either. It is a real pick ‘em fight.”
"I fancy Liam Smith to win on points in what I expect to be a real high-energy scrap. I just feel he’ll make Chris Eubank Jr work harder than he likes to. Eubank Jr has a great engine and can put together combinations in blistering bunches, but he likes to take rests and I think that’s where Smith will jump on him.”
"I think it will be a great fight with Chris Eubank Jr trying to box and move rather than stand and trade like Liam Smith will want to. I think it will be very close but I fancy Eubank Jr by a tight points decision in the end."
“The problem is Liam Smith is too small and a little shop-worn now. Chris Eubank Jr knows it too. Not that he lacks confidence, but he’s simply too big at the weight for Smith. Also Smith doesn’t hit hard enough to stop Eubank, but Eubank has the power to stop Smith. If this goes the distance it’s a bad performance from Eubank, especially as he has dreams of mixing with the elite boxers at middleweight - but that’s all they are: just dreams. I guess this is just a good old fashioned domestic fight worthy of a British title at the very least."