Boxer Liam Smith denies being homophobic after offensive digs at Chris Eubank Jr

Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith

Boxer Liam Smith has apologised for homophobic comments he directed at Chris Eubank Jr during their pre-fight press conference. 

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

In a bold statement at the weigh-in, Eubank Jr wore a rainbow armband in support of the queer community. 

Taking to Twitter, he posted an image of himself wearing the armband and wrote: “We don’t discriminate… we don’t alienate.

“We want boxing, and sport as a whole, to be all inclusive.”

Following the ugly exchange, Smith apologised, and during the post-fight press conference, he said: “I apologise to anyone offended by what I said.

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“I’m not homophobic in any way, shape or form, I’m far from it. 

“That’s not me as a man. If anyone’s offended and I’ve come across that way, I apologise.”

At the earlier press conference, Smith said: “You go on about girls, has anybody in this room ever seen you with a girl? You got something to tell us? You are 33 and you said… you want kids.

“This is for not laughs, I am just asking. Do you want to tell us something? You are putting up pictures with [footballer] Neymar in limousines. 

“No one in this room has seen you with a woman. If you are happy just tell us; it isn’t a dig. You have to have a woman to have a kid.”

Chris Eubank Jr is knocked down for second time by Liam Smith
Chris Eubank Jr is knocked down for second time by Liam Smith, shortly before the referee ended the middleweight bout at Manchester Arena on Saturday. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Eubank Jnr eventually responded, saying: “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.”

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.

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

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,” the statement read.

Smith stopped Eubank Jr in the fourth round of the fight on Saturday evening.

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