LIVERPOOL’S Liam Smith remains an appealing opponent for Chris Eubank Jnr in his next fight, the latter’s promoter tells Boxing News.
While Smith has been operating at super-welterweight, he has continued to impress, losing an unjust decision to Magomed Kurbanov in Russia, then beating Anthony Fowler before dominating Jesse Vargas last month in New York. He also has victories over Liam Williams, Eubank’s last opponent, on his record. There has been some needle between Smith and Eubank too after long-past sparring sessions they’ve shared. It’s a contest that could fill up the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
“We’re looking at it. It’s a fight that I think will whet the appetite of the boxing public, 100 per cent,” Eubank’s promoter Kalle Sauerland said. “But I’ve got to go on all fronts, we want to be fighting in the summer. Junior had an injury after the [last] fight but that’s all healed up and we’re working on different options. With the belts still moving we’ve got to be reactive there as well as proactive. I mean in terms of options [there’s Gennadiy] Golovkin, Janibek [Alimkhanuly], Smith, [Conor] Benn, those are the sort of the names we’re looking at at the moment.”
BN understands that Conor Benn is discussing a potential catchweight bout with Eubank at 157lbs.
After picking up another win in February, the plan is for Eubank to fight twice more before the end of this year. Kazakh star Gennadiy Golovkin is another key target for Eubank Jnr. But while Sauerland is ready to take that fight for Eubank, he is expecting Canelo Álvarez’ next move, after the Mexican’s shock defeat to Dmitry Bivol, to dictate Golovkin’s availability. “As I understand it the fight between Golovkin and Canelo was already made and signed and ready to announce,” Kalle explained. “So that’s all done. So it’s really for him to say I’m not fighting Golovkin, I’m going ahead and doing the rematch with Bivol like he said in the ring after the fight.
“If I look at it like that, we have to sit tight. We’re ready. It won’t take long with us, because Junior’s on board already. So it’s an easy one to make from our end,” he continued. “But we have to let the situation play out.”
Kalle’s brother Nisse Sauerland, the co-promoter in Wasserman Boxing, is expecting Canelo Álvarez to go for the Golovkin fight. “I would fight Golovkin if I was him. Just because I think with that Bivol fight, do you want to lose twice in a row? I almost feel like he [Bivol] might have his number. But I wouldn’t find out straightaway. I would go and fight Golovkin, which I think is a great fight. Everyone’s banging on about Golovkin’s old. But to be fair he [should have] won the first one and I saw the second a draw,” Nisse said. “Whatever way you look at it, those were two close fights.”
The Sauerlands held their first promotion on Channel 5 on May 13 headlined by Denzel Bentley against Linus Udofia in a British title fight. That reportedly brought in a television audience of one million.
The Sauerlands had highlighted the potential reach of boxing on terrestrial television before. Nisse previously had said, “We wanted to just make some noise. We know what kind of a platform Channel 5 is and potential viewership.”
Their next Channel 5 show will be on June 17 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, headlined by Nathan Gorman vs Tomas Salek and featuring Marcel Braithwaite vs Thomas Essomba as well as prospects like Chloe Watson, Matty Harris and Hosea Stewart. Josh Kelly, whose opponent pulled out of the bout mere hours before they were due to fight on the previous Wasserman show, will now box on this Liverpool event instead. Once Kelly has finally made his comeback from the loss to David Avanesyan, the Sauerlands intend to keep him active.
“He’s a couple of fights away from a big fight,” Nisse said. “Sometimes going up a weight class can be the making of your career.”
“We’ve had our experience with George [Groves] and a lot of fighters, rebuilding guys who’ve lost to become world champions. I just think because you lose once it’s not the end of your career is it? He’s 28 years old, he’s an Olympian and he can really box. He’s got great character and he’s got a lot of sponsorship deals and he wouldn’t have that if he wasn’t a star,” Sauerland continued. “Keeping him busy, I think he ’s the type of guy that suits a lot of activity.
“He’s the real deal. So we’re excited just to get him going again.”
The Sauerlands hope to use their platform with Channel 5 to develop the profile of their fighters. “Tyson Fury, Hughie Fury, all of those guys were on Channel 5? Build some stars,” Nisse said. “If you look past AJ [Anthony Joshua], Dillian Whyte, Fury, you need the next generation coming through to pay-per-view. You’ve obviously got Eubank Junior, you’ve got Conor Benn coming through – he’s definitely improved, I don’t know if he’s the finished article yet. You need some stars.”