Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr. will meet in a middleweight rematch on June 17 in Manchester, England, sources told ESPN.
Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) scored the upset win over Eubank when they fought in January, a fourth-round TKO that included two knockdowns. One month later, Eubank tweeted that he exercised his contractual right to an immediate rematch.
However, there remained doubt the return bout would take place next. Eubank reengaged in talks with Conor Benn — they were set to fight in October before a banned substance was found in Benn’s system; the WBC later cleared Benn of intentional doping — but ultimately pushed forward with his opportunity for revenge.
“I told you all week, don’t be surprised if I stop him,” Smith, 34, said after the fight in Manchester. “I don’t know whether it was an accumulation of shots or that one punch. If Chris wants the rematch, I will do it.”
Smith, a 2-1 underdog, pinned Eubank in a corner and dropped him with a flurry of punches. When he beat the count, he was on unsteady legs. Moments later, he was on the canvas again, and this time, the referee halted the fight without a count.
“I felt I could have gone on,” said Eubank, “but big respect to Liam.”
Smith, who fights out of Liverpool, is a former junior middleweight titleholder who lost his belt to Canelo Alvarez via ninth-round KO in September 2016. “Beefy” moved up to middleweight for the Eubank assignment and is now rated No. 5 at 160 pounds by ESPN.
Smith scored a 10th-round TKO of former champion Jessie Vargas in his previous outing. His younger brother, Callum Smith, is a light heavyweight contender who also lost his title (at super middleweight) to Alvarez.
Eubank (32-3, 23 KOs) is the son of British legend Chris Eubank Sr. The 33-year-old’s other two losses came against Billy Joe Saunders (before BJS won his first title) and George Groves in a super middleweight title bout. Eubank is rated No. 9 by ESPN at middleweight.
The chief-support bout will feature Franchon Crews-Dezurn in a defense of her undisputed super middleweight championship against Savannah Marshall, sources said.
Liam Smith-Chris Eubank Jr. rematch set for June 17