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Chris Eubank Jr puts himself in world title frame after outclassing Liam Smith

Chris Eubank Jr produced the best performance of his career to gain revenge over Liam Smith and put himself back in the frame for a world title shot.

Eubank Jr's career was on the line in Manchester on Saturday night, but rather than buckle under the pressure, the 33-year-old produced a boxing masterclass against a below-par Smith, who won the first fight by stoppage.

With the pair now winning one fight each, a trilogy could be on the cards, but after such a devastating display, Eubank Jr wasted no time in calling out some of boxing's biggest names.

Smith fails to repeat January heroics

When the pair first met in Manchester in January, Eubank Jr was the favourite to pick up a comfortable win and move on to bigger and better things.

He started well before Smith unleashed a barrage of punches and dropped Eubank Jr twice before the referee waved off the contest.

Every aspect of Eubank Jr's style was then criticised, and some questioned whether he still had the resistance to take a big punch, and others wondered if he still had the desire to compete at the top.

All of those questions were answered inside the opening few rounds on Saturday, as Eubank Jr implemented his style and then some.

The Brighton fighter has strayed off course at times during his career, often showboating and failing to stick to a game plan. Under new coach Brian McIntyre, Eubank Jr used his jab to perfection before he busted up Smith with numerous hooks and uppercuts.

A uppercut in the fourth shook Smith to his core as he sank to the canvas, but the Liverpudlian did well to dig deep and hang on until the 10th round.

Another barrage of punches on the ropes proved enough for referee Kevin Parker, and Smith's suffering finally ended.

The former world champion claims a back injury that caused the rematch to be delayed played its part, as he was forced to lose 42lbs in order to make the weight, but he was quick to praise Eubank Jr for his disciplined display.

Golovkin one of Eubank Jr's potential targets

After a career-best display from Eubank Jr, the attention immediately turned to his next outing, with pundits desperate to see some more of the flashy middleweight.

After just over 30 minutes of action, Eubank Jr went from boxing for his future to now being able to call people out in front of the Manchester crowd.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Eubank Jr said: "There's no real ideal fight. There's so many great names out there.

"I would love to fight Golovkin, and I would like to fight for a world title.

"But there's great domestic names out there too."

Eubank Jr mentioned potential catchweight fights against both Kell Brook and Conor Benn, and while a bout with either would sell out an arena, he could finally face Gennady Golovkin after years of chasing the hard-hitting Kazakh.

The 41-year-old was last in action in September 2022, but "GGG" is still one of the biggest names in the middleweight division.

A win over the former world champion would put Eubank Jr in line for a world title fight, with Janibek Alimkhanuly, Vincenzo Gualtieri, Jermall Charlo, and Erislandy Lara the current belt holders.

McIntyre, known for his work with pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford, is also expecting his new fighter to earn a world title shot, and it could be a big 18 months for the Brighton man.

Smith's career at a crossroads

At 35, Smith may not have long left at the top, and the former world champion proved he still can compete in January with a stunning display against Eubank Jr. A back injury and brutal weight cut took its toll on Saturday, and "Beefy" may need time to recover from a tough night at the office.

A trilogy fight is not beyond the realms of possibility, and both fighters said they would entertain it if the demand was there from the fans.

As a gutsy and determined fighter, Smith will not want to end his career after such a display, but motivation could be a big problem. Smith has shared the ring with the likes of Saul Alvarez, Anthony Fowler, Jessie Vargas, Liam Williams and Jaime Munguia, and if he cannot secure himself a big name, Smith may decide to have a homecoming bout before calling time on an excellent career.

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