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Chris Eubank Jr’s showdown with Liam Smith finalised for early next year after collapse of blockbuster Conor Benn bout

CHRIS EUBANK JR and Liam Smith’s domestic dust-up has been finalised – but the pair’s eagerly-anticipated showdown WON’T take place this year.

Talks over the all-English clash resumed after failed drug tests from Conor Benn nixed Eubank Jr’s historic showdown with the son of his dad’s arch-rival.

Chris Eubank Jr was due to face Conor Benn in a historic showdown last month

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Chris Eubank Jr was due to face Conor Benn in a historic showdown last monthCredit: Getty
But an anti-doping violation from Benn nixed the eagerly-anticipated Battle of Britain

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But an anti-doping violation from Benn nixed the eagerly-anticipated Battle of BritainCredit: PA
Next Gen is on course to face Liverpudlian Liam Smith early next year

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Next Gen is on course to face Liverpudlian Liam Smith early next yearCredit: Getty

December 17 was the targeted date for the Sky Sports battle, although Boxxer chief Ben Shalom has revealed the agreement has been reached too late for the middleweight bout to take place this year.

He told iD Boxing: “It’s just about the date now. I speak to Kalle [Sauerland] regularly.

“Everything is agreed and we’ll hopefully announce it next week.”

Former WBO light-middleweight champion Smith was gunning for a showdown with Eubank Jr before the Brighton middleweight opted to take a blockbuster bout with Benn.

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There is certainly no love lost between the pair, who have repeatedly traded verbal jabs in the media.

Shalom added: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a fight I’ve wanted to see for a long time.

“I was hoping we’d get it just in this year.

“But obviously, we’re looking at five weeks, six weeks from December 17 now.

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“[It’s] probably going to be slightly later.

“But, yeah, the fight will happen and it’s one the fans can look forward to. It’s one that I’m looking forward to.”

Eubank Jr, 33, hasn’t boxed since his February shutout of Welshman Liam Williams in Cardiff.

Smith, meanwhile, scored a fourth-round TKO victory over Hassan Mwakinyo in his hometown of Liverpool in September.

The Scouser was hoping to get his hands on Eubank before year’s end, saying: “I was open to that fight before he decided to fight Conor and now the Benn fight is off there is probably only one fight in Britain left for him and that’s me.

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“It’s an easy fight to make and I think we are both willing to fight each other so I am sure that it can be made.

“I would be ready for December, I fought in September and – by my usual process – I would be ready to go again in December.”

CET ARTICLE A ETE COPIE SUR www.thesun.co.uk

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