In his latest column, the former Olympian and heavyweight contender speaks ahead of his showdown against Dave Allen in Manchester on Saturday and explains why Chris Eubank Jr could be heading for another loss to Liam Smith.
Pushed to my limits in preparation for Dave Allen
I know Dave Allen and I know what he is good at. He does a lot well but I have been concentrating on myself this camp – it has just been about my improvements.
These professional boxing camps are gruelling. Even after 18 months as a pro, it is only now I am starting to realise the difference between amateur and professional.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to train all year round but there are more rounds, heavier sparring with three or four different partners, it is intense. You have to stay injury free in these camps because they are so hard but I’m on the home straight now.
I have had some really good sparring heading into this fight, people who have pushed me to my limits. I have had some spars that have left me thinking, “oh my God, I can’t believe I am going into a fight after this”.
But I have come through the other side. We had a few cruiserweights in, some really heavy-handed heavyweights, guys looking to take your head off so there has been lots of variation and it has been fantastic.
Allen an opportunist but he won’t outbox me
Even when he was semi-retired, I always knew Dave is an opportunist like everyone in this sport. And if you think you have still got it you have got every right to go and chase it.
Dave was retiring from the sport just as I was turning professional but I did think at the time this could be a fight that happens down the line and it is a good name at a good time for me.
When you fight Dave Allen you always have to be cautious. He is capable of upsetting the applecart at any moment and he has had some terrific nights and terrific performances over the years. He has got power in both hands and is tough as old boots. He thinks he can outbox me… but that is not happening.
On the night, whatever version of him turns up, I will have an answer for. His plan will be to take me to deep waters. I have only fought the full 10 rounds once, he has done it a few more times. But in boxing, you have habits that can be hard to get out of. I have a habit of winning, Dave has habit of competing but ultimately it being close, but no cigar. That doesn’t change overnight. He’s not daft, I am better than my record shows.
Against Mariusz Wach I was in first gear the whole fight. I didn’t have to be anywhere else. On Saturday, I will have to go through the gears. Wach was an old man compared to Dave who will not stop coming and he is game as anything. But I know what I am capable of and it’s something he won’t be able to live with.
Being the bad guy won’t bother me
There will be a lot of people there in Manchester rooting for him to take my chin off. But that won’t bother me. I have boxed Russian champions in Russia in tournament finals. I have walked down to the ring with people trying to get at me and kill me. It means nothing to me, once we get in that ring, none of that matters.
As for what is next for me beyond this, I’ll sit down with the team and plan. Maybe I’ll have one more this year but we will have to see.
Either way, next year will be a busy one, no doubt about it, with big fights and hopefully I’ll start 2024 with a bang.
New trainer won’t matter for Eubank Jr
Chris Eubank Jr is looking for revenge against Liam Smith at the top of the bill. The biggest change as far as this one is concerned is the presence of Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre in his corner with Roy Jones Jr no longer part of the picture.
But for me personally, I don’t see ‘BoMac’ being a huge difference maker. He is hugely experienced of course and has great pedigree – we know about all he has accomplished alongside Terence Crawford.
But in my opinion, it won’t matter too much on the night. Eubank Jr will do what he normally does. We know he doesn’t listen to people.
I think it will be a better fight, Eubank Jr will probably fight with a little bit more caution, he won’t want to put himself in that situation early on again. But I think ‘Beefy’ wears him down again, whether he does that over 12 rounds or stops him I am not sure, but I am going for a Liam Smith win.
Benn fight still there whatever happens
Two big defeats will be a major setback for Eubank Jr but I don’t think it will be the end for him.
He is still a great fighter, a great talker and a great personality. It is just sometimes the case of it being a fight too far in terms of quality of the opponent and I think Liam is just too much for him, too well-schooled and we now know he can seriously hurt him.
For Eubank Jr, the Conor Benn situation is still there. That is always going to be a massive fight even if he were to lose to Smith again. No matter what happens in boxing, if there is a chance to make that fight, both men will be right in there for it regardless of what has happened in the past.
Eubank Jr has got a few big pay days in him yet. As long as they are both around, that fight will be talked about.
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