Chris Eubank Jr believes a slip was partly responsible for his KO defeat to Liam Smith.
Eubank Jr was looking to settle his bitter rivalry with Liverpudlian Smith at the Manchester Arena at the weekend, but was brutally beaten and stopped in the fourth round. It was a shock for many who expected Eubank Jr's rival to win on points if he was to be given the nod in their pay-per-view showdown.
But Smith turned up the tempo in the fourth period landing a barrage of shots which sent Eubank Jr crashing to the canvas, before he was deemed unable to continue by referee Victor Loughlin. And the 33-year-old has insisted that he was dominating proceedings prior to the breakthrough moment in the fight-defining stanza.
"I was dominating the fight and then I got caught. In my mind, I'm still the better fighter," he told Sky Sports. "Obviously I wouldn't have much of an argument after a loss, but I have an argument to prove I'm the better fighter. He caught me with a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I feel like I was dominating the fight before that happened. Liam came at me again, threw a bunch more punches, I slipped and then the referee stopped it."
Despite the brutal nature of the loss, Eubank Jr is contractually able to pursue a second meeting and a bid for revenge. Talks have already been had regarding a second match-up at the home of Smith's beloved Liverpool, Anfield, but many believe it could now be off the cards given the outcome of the weekend's contest.
Prior to the loss, Eubank Jr was looking at alternative options following any win which would have included a potential challenge to unified 160lb champion Gennady Golovkin. These could now emerge as potential opponents for Smith who progressed beyond Eubank Jr, but he has insisted he would also be open to another domestic clash with Kell Brook.
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"I've got good options, I'm in a good position," Smith said after the fight. If [Eubank] wants that rematch, I'll give it to him. I'm open to anything, I always have been. If it's Chris next, it's Chris next. Ben Shalom [Smith's promoter] said Kell [Brook] wants to fight the winner. That's a huge fight. There's talk of Golovkin. We're in a good position.
"I've also agreed I'll accept the rematch if Chris wants it, because that was put in [the contract] beforehand. I'd love the rematch at Anfield. "I've beat Chris Eubank, it's not like I've lost and I have to try to rebuild or retire. I'm back in the mix again and I'm going to be getting linked with everyone now. "I don't mean to sound big headed with this, but when you put me there after this, it sells well anyway regardless."