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Chris Eubank Junior - World Beater?

by Kev Bassant

Many of you will have your thoughts on Chris Eubank Junior, quite a few being a general disliking for his arrogance, both inside the ring and out. For some reason he just doesn’t seem to have the likeability factor that Senior used to his advantage so well in his career. But love him or Loathe him, what needs to be respected is that he holds a world title in what is arguably the toughest division out there. The recent exhibition of his skills, against a former 2 times World Champion in Arthur Abraham, boosted Junior’s stock to now be involved in the World Boxing Super Series against the biggest names in the division. The question remains, does Junior have what it takes to walk away from the series with the Muhammad Ali Trophy, and George Groves’ WBA Belt?

With a current record of 25-1-0 with 19KO’s, and a confidence only growing by the day – it is hard to see anyone picking Junior for an easy night's work. The only dent in his record is the split decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders. Having watched the BJS fight over and over again – the Junior we watched then is a very different animal to IBO World Champion we witnessed the other week. Starting slow, Eubank never seemed to get into any rhythm, letting Saunders dictate with the jab. Only in the latter rounds did Junior go to work, putting Saunders in trouble on more than one occasion. However, leaving his attack so late proved costly, and the judges on the night arguably made the correct decision in awarding the fight to BJS.

After the fight Billy Joe Saunders told the waiting media that he would give Eubank Junior the first shot after he captures a world title. Well, it’s now been 17 months since BJS took Andy Lee’s WBO title, with only 1 defence against a poor Artur Akavov. Saunders has just signed up to fight Willie Monroe Junior later this year – so it looks like the promised rematch will have to wait for some considerable time, much to fan's dismay!

Chris Eubank Junior fights with an arrogance/confidence rarely seen in today’s boxing arena. Using (sometimes comical) shoulder rolls, lateral movement and baiting opponents, before coming forward with a barrage of punches from various angles. Most notably so, is the uppercut from inside which Junior regularly peppered Arthur Abraham's face with. What can’t be denied is his technical skill level, but what has been questioned is his raw power. 19 knockouts on his CV to date would certainly suggest he has power in his locker, but one can’t quite dismiss the fact that with the array of shots Junior landed against Abraham, not once did the ageing Armenian seem rocked. In fact, at times Abraham seemed to encourage Junior to throw, perhaps trying to tire the younger man. However, this wasn’t the case, and Junior continued to come forward for the full 12 rounds, and one gets the felling he could have gone on for a few more.

Moving forward, we will all get the answers we are waiting for. In the anticipated World Boxing Super Series, Eubank Junior has been handed a quarter-final line up against the heavy handed Turk, Avni Yildirim. If Junior successfully handles the first obstacle, we could be in for an explosive semi-final with the prospect of Junior facing off against current WBA King George Groves. After a brief war of words between the pair, this could be a highlight of the tournament. Of course, Groves will need also need to overcome a tough Quarter final against a much fancied Jamie Cox. Onwards from here, it’s expected the victor will face off against the pre-tournament favourite – Callum Smith.

As the tournament reaches its climax in spring 2018, we will all know where Chris Eubank Junior really stands in the world of Super Middleweight Boxing. Going out on a limb; it is this writer's opinion that Junior will hold both belts and the converted Muhammad Ali Trophy at the conclusion.

Posted: 21st Jul 2017

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