Chris Eubank Jr. said he won’t repeat mistake of first Liam Smith bout

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Chris Eubank Jr. insists he knows where he went wrong against Liam Smith in January, when Smith knocked him out in four rounds.

Eubank had a strong Round 3 but a perfect right hand from Smith initiated a barrage of damaging blows that resulted in two knockdowns and one of the most stunning stoppages of the year at AO Arena in Manchester, England, the site of their rematch on Saturday night (ESPN+).

Eubank (32-3, 23 KOs) said he let his guard down, figuratively and literally. He promises it won’t happen in his second shot at Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs).

“I think I got complacent,” he said on The Overlap podcast. “I was very comfortable in that ring, probably more so than I usually am in fights in general. I was very comfortable, I was very relaxed.

“He wasn’t catching me with shots. In the third round, I hit him with some great combinations, and I was just fully in control. I guess I went back to the corner after the third round and I was like, ‘This is in the bag, I’ve got this.’”

He went on: “You’ve got to have confidence but as a veteran you can gauge your ability, especially after being in the ring for a few rounds with another man. You know whether it’s going to be a hard night or whether you’ve got it.

“After that third round, I was like, ‘I’ve got this, this is where I’m going to start taking off.’”

Unfortunately for Eubank, it was Smith who took off.

“That relaxed attitude – ‘Oh, there’s no danger in front of me’ – caused me to let my guard down for a split second, literally,” he said. “My opponent capitalized on that split second mistake and now we’re here, about to settle the score in a rematch.”

He added: “When I got out of that ring it wasn’t depression or upset, it was annoyance. I was [thinking], ‘How can I let this happen, I know I can beat this guy.’ So it was a different type of sting.

“But that’s boxing. You’ve got to take your licks when they’re there and have the ability to come back stronger, tougher, more resilient, improved. You’ve got to learn from your mistakes.”

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