Boxer Chris Eubank Jr. suffered a badly swollen right eye following his defeat to Liam Smith in their middleweight fight this weekend.
The biggest fight of 2023 so far was held in Manchester‘s legendary AO Arena on Saturday, 21 January, with the hype around the much-talked-about match-up only further exacerbated by the ugly scenes that ensued in the press conference beforehand.
Fighter Smith, 34, made the step up from light-middleweight to face the son of British boxing legend, Eubank Sr., who was on an eight-fight winning streak prior to the bout and a year younger than his Liverpudlian opponent.
Lasting just four rounds, Smith ended up dropping Eubank twice, who looked dazed as he got to his feet on both occasions and had to be separated by trainers from each corner as he seemed initially unaware that the fight had been stopped.
The fourth-round stoppage is just the third loss in Eubank Jr.’s 35-fight career, having made his debut back in 2011.
Despite landing several of his own shots and having been up on the scorecards in the opening three rounds, Smith launched a flurry of punches to knock him down for the first time before following up with a clinical volley of blows to finish him off just moments later.
Speaking to Sky Sports in the aftermath, Eubank said he “was enjoying himself” until Smith caught him with “a once-in-a-lifetime blow”. He went on to insist that he felt he was dominating the fight and could have continued had the referee not made his decision.
Nevertheless, it was not to be and the Hove-born boxer was left with a rather sizeable swollen eye.
While the victory on the night might have gone his opposite number’s way, Eubank Jr. has received a raft of praise for his handling of the unpleasant situation that transpired in the pre-match presser.
Although he apologised for his own reaction to Smith’s antagonist and what many considered offensive comments, with Sky forced to issue an on-air apology for the “personal and homophobic remarks made on stage”, many have applauded him for standing up for the LGBTQ+ community.
For those unaware, Smith made several suggestions regarding Eubank’s sexuality, with the latter responding: “I’d rather be gay than a cheat”.
While Eubank Jr.’s eye might have been heavily damaged, his pride was not and, if anything, his popularity has increased in the wake of Smith’s outburst.
Following the fiery face-off, Eubank made it clear that he stood in solidarity with the gay community by donning the rainbow armband in the subsequent weigh-in and went on to write on Twitter: “We don’t discriminate… we don’t alienate. We want boxing & sport as a whole, to be all-inclusive.”
As for Smith, he has since apologised for remarks, insisting that “I’m not homophobic in any way, shape or form, I’m far from it”.
However, for many, his backtracking has been seen as an empty sentiment made to protect his public image and highlights how much more still needs to be done to combat the culture of homophobia that still prevails throughout modern sports.
Antony‘s case is still ongoing, with a total of three women coming out to accuse him of domestic abuse — chiefly, his ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin, who was first to raise concerns surrounding his alleged behaviour — but his cooperation through the investigation has led them to revise their position.
Issuing an update on Friday morning confirming that the forward with be brought back into the fold until the situation is resolved.
A club statement reads as follows: “Since allegations were first made in June, Antony has co-operated with police inquiries in both Brazil and the UK, and he continues to do so.
“As Antony’s employer, Manchester United has decided that he will resume training at Carrington, and be available for selection, while police inquiries proceed. This will be kept under review pending further developments in the case.
“As a club, we condemn acts of violence and abuse. We recognise the importance of safeguarding all those involved in this situation, and acknowledge the impact these allegations have on survivors of abuse.”
Erik ten Hag‘s side plays their second game against Crystal Palace in less than a week after beating them 3-0 in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and while it is not thought Antony will be brought straight back into the team, he will be available for selection moving forward.
United currently sit ninth in the Premier League with three wins and three losses to their name.
Man United to play Newcastle in Carabao Cup fourth round after Magpies knock out Man City
Last season’s Carabao Cup winners, Man United, now know their opponents for the next round after Newcastle United beat Man City 1-0 on Wednesday night, meaning both 2022/23 finalists will once again be meeting each other.
Either way, Alexander Isak’s single goal in the game at St James’ Park was enough to see the Magpies make it past the treble-winners despite a dominant first-half display from the away side.
Here’s the game-winning moment:
After receiving a yellow card during the game, the night ended with Guardiola fuming at referee Chris Kavanagh and exchanging more than a few words after the full-time whistle.
Clearing the moment up with reporters after the game, Pep said: “I don’t know how many fouls they did, how many fouls we had and the number of yellow cards, but it is what it is — sometimes the emotions are there. Respect for the referees and their job, a well-deserved yellow card.”
Nevertheless, the result has led to a repeat of last year’s culminating cup tie which, despite coming much earlier in the competition this time around, will see United facing off against a high-flying Newcastle team who just put eight goals past Sheffield United on this past Sunday.
The Magpies’ manager, Eddie Howe, has already said he and his side are aiming to “go one better” than they did last year and with the form they’re displaying at the moment — especially with United’s stuttering start — they stand a pretty good chance.
Elsewhere amongst the Premier League sides remaining in the competition, West Ham will host Arsenal, Bournemouth will play Liverpool at home and Sean Dyche’s Everton will play his old club Burnley.
Further down the footballing pyramid, Fulham visit Championship side Ipswich, Chelsea will host Blackburn and at least two other EFL sides will make it to the quarter-finals, with Mansfield at home to Port Vale and Exeter playing Middlesbrough.
All fourth-round ties are set to take place in the week commencing 30 October.
You can watch the highlights of Newcastle United vs Manchester City down below.