Chris Eubank Jr.: First Liam Smith on Saturday, then back to Conor Benn

Chris Eubank Jr. has a curious take on Conor Benn.

On one hand, Eubank told The Guardian that Benn should be banned from boxing after he failed a drug test this past October, which scuttled their scheduled meeting. On the other hand, Eubank still wants to fight domestic rival.

Eubank is first scheduled to face Liam Smith in a 12-round 160-pound fight Saturday at AO Arena in Manchester, England (DAZN).

“If you’re going to talk about setting an example to kids and the next generation of fighters, then, yes, absolutely I would say a ban [is appropriate],” he told the newspaper. “The selfish side of the coin, which is where I’m a fighter who wants to be in huge fights and get my hands on this kid for what he’s done, doesn’t want a ban.”

Benn allegedly tested positive for Clomifene, a fertility drug for women that reportedly can increase testosterone levels in men, more than a week for the fight.

Eubank, who was told immediately, agreed to go through with the fight after Benn told him that the allegations were “bull—-.” However, it fell apart after the British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction it.

Eubank dismissed Benn as a “great f—ing actor” after learning that Benn allegedly failed another drug test a few months earlier. Now their rivalry is more personal than ever.

“Yeah, the fight is twice as big,” he said. “We would need a stadium with 60,000 instead of the O2 [Arena in London]. Does he deserve that kind of payday after being caught with illegal substances? Probably not. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up that payday.

“And, now, it’s personal. It’s not just about upholding the family legacy. I now actually don’t like this kid. He’s done wrong by me. So he’s lost all his privileges and bartering power. There are no weight clauses now. There are no rehydration limits. There are no 50% splits.

“Everything’s in my court now. I’m the only fight people want to see him in.”

Of course, Eubank (32-2, 23 KOs) must get past Smith first. And that’s not a given.

Smith (32-3-1, 19 KOs) is a former 154-pound titleholder who has won three consecutive fights since losing a decision to rising junior middleweight contender Magomed Kurbanov in May 2021, including a 10th-round TKO of Jessie Vargas last April.

Most observers believe that Smith has a legitimate chance to win the fight. Eubank respects his fellow Englishman but also is confident.

“He’s a former world champion and you have to always respect that,” Eubank said. “I also don’t think he would be taking the fight if he didn’t think he could win. But if I fight at 50% of what I’m capable of doing I’ll win.

“That’s how superior I believe I am to him.”

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