Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing press conference turns into ugly, homophobic mess

Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith

Boxers Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr have apologised after their pre-match press conference turned “personal” and “homophobic”.

The middleweight fighters took a number of verbal jabs at each other, including Smith questioning Eubank’s sexuality, ahead of their fight in Manchester on Saturday (21 January).

Smith asked Eubank if he “wanted to tell us something”, going on to say that Eubank was 33 and “nobody in this room has ever seen you with a woman”.

A number of people can be heard laughing during Smith’s questioning.

Eubank attempted to fend him off by saying his private life “was irrelevant to the boxing”.

However, the boxer added he was “happy” and “comfortable”.

You may like to watch

“If you have a personal question to ask me directly, you can slide into my DM’s [direct messages] or you can do it right now,” Eubank said.

Smith indicated he would not message Eubank because “I’m not that type of way mate, I like women”.

Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Smith pose for a photo during the face off at Manchester Central Convention Complex on January 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Eventually, Eubank took his own hit, seemingly sick of being quizzed on his sexuality: “If you want to get dark and personal with it, you know, talking about being gay and do I like girls … I’ve been told by multiple sources that you cheat on your wife on the occasion”.

”I’d rather be gay than a cheat,” he said.

‘Why is the bar so low?’

Jon Holmes, who founded advocacy network Sports Media LGBT+, told PinkNews the comments made by the boxers were “entirely unacceptable”, particularly when being used as “taunting and goading to promote a fight”.

“Poking at sexuality” should be “off limits”, he said. “Why is the bar so low?”

He highlighted it appeared to be a case of homophobia in the mens side of the sport, which more people needed to call out, whereas female boxing was more inclusive.

Those involved needed to make stronger statements against homophobia, Holmes said.

“A proper apology is saying you accept you said something of a discriminatory nature,” he added.

A clip of the exchange Eubank shared on Twitter shows Sky Sport put banners on screen, including: “Apologies for the bad language you may have heard” and “Caution: strong language”.

Sky Sports presenter Anna Woolhouse apologised for the “homophobic” and “offensive language” after the press conference ended, and the broadcaster removed footage from its boxing YouTube channel, Sport Bible reported.

The pair’s behaviour was condemned by Boxxer, the promoter behind Smith and who co-promotes Eubank, BBC Sport reported, with the promoter saying both had apologised.

The outlet reported Smith as saying his comments were a reaction to previous remarks made by Eubank.

Chris Eubank Jr, on the other hand, admitted things “escalated quickly” but said it was OK that things “got personal”.

Boxing is personal, fighting another man is one of the most personal things you can do. So I get it.”

In a statement published on Friday (20 January), the British Boxing Board of Control said it was aware of the comments.

“The Stewards of The Board will be considering the conduct of both Boxers directly.”