Back in November 2014, at the Excel Arena in London, we had two domestic grudge matches on the same bill. One was a bout between two of the biggest characters in heavyweight boxing – Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora – and the other was a tussle between unbeaten fighters were beginning to polarize opinions within the middleweight division; they were Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr.
It was a tale of the tape that we don’t often see in this country. A pair of young, unbeaten, hungry fighters that didn’t really need to see who’s ‘0 was gonna go’. We get the odd fight every now-and-then; the likes of DeGale-Groves, Fury-Chisora I, and the upcoming match-up between Ohara Davis and Josh Taylor have gone against the grain in recent years.
Eubank Jr would go on to lose a very close contest that night. Despite the wrong tactics – he didn’t really let his hands go for the first six – and a corner that was in desperate need of some order, the Brighton man lost a split decision in pursuit of the European, British and Commonwealth titles. Some had him winning – I personally agreed with the result – but Chris had come out with credit as many thought he had been managed bizarrely in the corner that night.
Fast forward a few months and his opponent was, unbeaten, Dmitry Chudinov – older brother of Fedor – and a TKO victory over the Russian put him as no.1 in-line for a shot at, then WBA ‘Regular’ title-holder, Daniel Jacobs. The fight never materialised and over two years has passed and we’re still waiting for ‘Next Gen’ to prove that he really he is the second coming of his father.
Since fighting Chudinov it’s just been round-up of rumours, talks and Twitter spats with the likes of: DeGale, Groves, Saunders – many times – Golovkin and Brook; the latter due to the fact that the former Golden Gloves winner was meant to face the Kazakh.
It seemed to be a formality at one point that he would in fact face the most feared middleweight on the planet, Gennady Golovkin, but that opportunity passed; Eddie Hearn since has let out that he believed it was Eubank Jr’s team, rather than the boxer, that were responsible for the breakdown in negotiations.
A jump-up in weight has since rewarded Eubank with a, lightly regarded, IBO Super-Middleweight title and the first defence will be against former two-weight World champion, Arthur Abraham. It is a step-up from a sequence of bouts that have yielded names such as: Peter, O’Sullivan, Nick Blackwell, Tom Doran and Renold Quinlan; but ‘King’ Arthur’s star has long-since faded, Eubank Jr, and his team, need to allow his to start shining.
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