The English boxers are set to square off in a middleweight main event at Manchester’s AO Arena on 21 January, as Eubank Jr steps in the ring for the first time in 11 months.
The 33-year-old was due to box Conor Benn in October, but adverse findings in Benn’s drug-test results saw the bout fall through on short notice. As such, Eubank Jr’s last contest came in February 2022 as he outpointed Welshman Liam Williams in hostile territory in Cardiff. Meanwhile, Liverpudlian Smith last competed in September, stopping Hassan Mwakinyo in the fourth round.
On Sunday (8 January), 34-year-old Smith recalled memories of past sparring sessions with Eubank Jr, telling Boxxer: “I remember just thinking like, ‘Look at him...’
“I haven’t even said, [but] I remember getting out the ring and Ronnie Davies [Eubank Jr’s trainer] saying, ‘You can hit him when you want to hit him.’
“I know Chris can be hurt to the body; I’ve openly said it, I know I hurt him to the body. He’ll tell you different, but he’s telling you he’s never been hurt in his life, so that’s just Chris.
“Obviously size made it an even spar, and that’s what I’m trying to say now. Size here is making this fight a 50-50, or a great fight as people are saying.”
Meanwhile, Eubank Jr said his memory of the sparring sessions is less clear.
— BOXXER (@boxxer) January 8, 2023
“I think it was in Amir Khan’s gym, but I don’t remember exactly how it went down,” he said.
“I don’t remember if I hurt him. He says he hurt me to the body and nearly put me on the canvas. I think that is a whimsical tale.
“We’re both probably two different fighters compared to what we were back then. Well, I know I am; he may not be, but I am.”