‘Next Gen’ produced a boxing masterclass at Manchester’s AO Arena on Saturday night, supplying two knockdowns en route to a superb and hopelessly one-sided 10th-round stoppage win.
It was sweet revenge for Eubank Jr, who had admitted that “everything was on the line” after he suffered a shock fourth-round knockout loss at the hands of Smith at the same venue back in January.
It remains to be seen if a trilogy fight will be pursued, with the heated rivals now level at one victory apiece.
“It had to be [revenge], I had no other choice,” Eubank Jr said after a comeback triumph that moved him to 33-3, before calling out the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Conor Benn and Kell Brook.
“There are too many other big fights out there for me that the fans want to see, that I want to be involved in.
“I had to beat Liam tonight. I threw so many punches that the lettering on my shorts fell off. It’s incredible. Liam is a warrior, I respect him and I respect his whole team and his family and his brothers.
“They always come out and they always put it all on the line. He didn’t give up and he fought to the last second. Big up to Liam and his team.”
Smith falls to 33-4, having bemoaned his struggle to cut a lot of weight effectively after a back injury that caused the rematch to be delayed twice. His mobility also seemed to be limited on the night after he appeared to roll both of his ankles early on, though he did not use that as an excuse for such a galling loss.
“I was just flat from the start,” Smith said. “I think the weight killed me a little bit after the injury. I was just flat from the get-go and Chris was sharp.
“I couldn’t move my feet and when I did I rolled my ankle. But I’ve got dodgy ankles anyway haven’t I, it’s just one of those things. Chris was the better man tonight. I shout when I win, I’ll take my defeat when I lose.”
On Saturday’s undercard, exciting Berkshire talent Adam Azim moved to 9-0 as he comfortably outpointed experienced Ukrainian opponent Aram Fanyan.
Dave Allen retired with a perforated eardrum after the sixth round of his heavyweight contest against Frazer Clarke, who had been sailing close to the wind after having two points deducted in quick succession for repeated low blows.
Jack Cullen became the new British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion after stopping Mark Heffron at the end of the third round in a local battle between two former training partners.
Former women’s unified super-featherweight world champion Mikaela Mayer set up a potential showdown with Natasha Jonas next by rising in weight again and comfortably outpointing Italy’s Silvia Bortot.
Unbeaten Albanian welterweight Florian Marku needed just 54 seconds to demolish Irish opponent Dylan Moran, while Olympic gold medalist Lauren Price won again after opponent Lolita Muzeya sustained a nasty cut above her eye following an accidental clash of heads.
There was some good news for Team Smith straight out of the gate as popular young Liverpool fighter Frankie Stringer overcame Engel Gomez.