Chris Eubank Jr’s latest promotional deal an opportunity to finally prove himself

Chris Eubank Jr claims WBA middleweight title belt on US debut after Matt Korobov suffers freak injury

Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) will hope his latest deal with European promoter Team Sauerland provides him the platform to take over the middleweight division. However, with two years since his last real fight – retiring James DeGale in February 2019 – we’ve heard this before. Now 31, how will he back up ambitious claims to prove he’s a worthy title-holder at world level?

After reports were confirmed over the weekend that Eubank Jr had indeed signed a new promotional deal, critics swiftly chimed in saying no boxer has changed promotions more than him and rubbished the takeover as little more than part of his make-believe fantasy.

Nisse Sauerland, who has watched Eubank Jr’s career from afar, naturally said he was delighted and is looking forward to a successful relationship with him.

“We’ve been long time admirers of Chris. He fought on one of our shows back in 2012 and we’ve followed his career closely since then. He’s got all the attributes needed to establish his position as one of the biggest names in world boxing. Our first priority is cleaning out the middleweight division.” 

The sentiment is nice but ultimately, what else was he going to say? He’s been promoted by Frank Warren, Eddie Hearn, Mick Hennessey and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) previously but a quick Google archive search shows plenty of unsavoury pieces on how he and his father have operated over the past decade – without the in-ring application to justify such demands.

Especially when he came into the sport with such fanfare, if you’ll indulge this throwback picture:

Since suffering his first career defeat via split decision by Billy Joe Saunders in November 2014, he’s 11-1 but again, the only two real difficult tests were against George Groves and DeGale.

I wrote a rewind piece last year on what was, quite frankly, a humbling decision defeat precisely as Saint George promised in the build-up.

READ: History revisited – Groves beats Eubank Jr on points after a thrilling finish

Eubank Jr is a draw and attracts interested viewers, whether they want him to fail or otherwise.

While it was an impressive win, there’s the added caveat that DeGale was past his best when they eventually fought – not helping dispel the notion Eubank is selectively choosing opposition.

This interview with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn (inserted below), from July 2016, details exactly how negotiations were scuppered to face Gennady Golovkin. It almost sounds ridiculous but there’s no smoke without fire, especially if multiple people corroborate similar instances.

Has anything changed since?

Too headstrong for a trainer, cherry-picking fighters and flawed: all bark and no bite is the general consensus on Eubank Jr, fair or otherwise. So why should fans take him seriously now?

Well, as this piece pre-DeGale from 2019 explored, the relationship between he and father Snr has finally changed to a point where he’s his own man and has new people in his corner.

He’s a two-time IBO super-middleweight world champion but has since returned to middleweight (160lbs) where his US debut ended underwhelmingly in Dec. 2019 as Matt Korobov (shoulder) was unable to continue, so Eubank was awarded a second-round TKO win.

Chris Eubank Jr. US debut ends in disappointing fashion despite win

Korobov immediately went to the corner early in R2 with a shoulder injury and couldn’t continue

He’s now based in the United States and being trained by boxing legend Roy Jones Jr, who will undoubtedly sharpen some of the flaws within his repertoire. On the deal itself, he said he’s craving big fights and has spent the last year in the gym, so is ready to take over the division.

“I want all the champions – Murata, Charlo, Andrade, Golovkin – put me in the ring with any of them, I only want to fight the best. This is my time, if you have a belt, I’m coming for you.” 

What’s the fight to make?

His win over Korobov means he’s now the WBA interim title-holder, so fighting Japan’s Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) seems the most logical bout to make next. He too hasn’t fought since December 2019, where he retained his title with a R5 TKO win against Canada’s Steven Butler.

Jermall Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) and Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) ended 2020 with impressive victories, while Demetrius Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) hasn’t fought since January last year.

Andrade is eyeing Eubank’s conqueror Saunders instead, while Charlo wants to move up and challenge Canelo Alvarez after the Mexican’s win over Callum Smith last month.

Picture source: britishboxingnews.co.uk — quotes via boxingscene

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