By: Jacob Tanswell
It was June 25th 2016, Chris Eubank Jr, was sat in a press conference alongside promoter Eddie Hearn and his father, fresh from inflicting a damaging defeat on British Middleweight Contender, Tom Doran. As usual, Eubank Snr acted his usual maverick self, giving the journalists plenty of material; yet, the son, was his quiet, steely self, contemplating his future. When that topic did come up, the press conference came alive: “If they want it, it’s ready to sign” Eddie Hearn claimed after being asked about a possible well documented fight with Gennady Golovkin; if possible, this lit an ever bigger spark in Senior’s mind. “I genuinely don’t see how my son can be beaten by Ward or Golovkin, who are considered two of the pound for pound best fighters in the world.”
After the press conference and that bold and brash statement, the media starting drawing their own conclusions as if the lucrative fight had already been made. However, days passed and there was still no confirmation of the event, which was set to be on “Sky Sports Box Office.” The situation kept dragging on, until Hearn himself, drew a line in the sand; he gave the Eubanks a deadline. If they had not signed by then, the fight was off. The deadline passed. Abstract demands such as choosing who the commentator would be caused the deal to become well and truly dead in the water. All fans were wondering why the fight had not been made; there was a common opinion amongst boxing fans that the Eubanks had ducked the ferocious middleweight puncher. On social media, they were ridiculed and attacked. This was only emphasised further when IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook, stepped up two weight divisions and signed the exactly same deal they had rejected for a fight with “Triple G.” How can a welterweight be more willing to fight Golovkin than Eubank? Are they really the warriors which they constantly claim to be?
For months after, talks of any deals involving Junior had become dead. Many were left wondering whether his career would stall due to his dad constantly being in the background, dictating his career. Towards the end of 2016, ITV had announced they wanted to bring big time boxing back to the channel; with Eubank being at the forefront. This enabled Eubank to force his way back onto the scene and establish himself, rightly or wrongly, as a pay per view fighter. The channel’s excutives along with Eubank Senior carefully picked the opponent to start the ITV pay per view platform off.
In a space of a couple of months, Junior had two fights against Renold Quinlan, winning the IBO super middleweight belt and Arthur Abraham, who was a shadow of his former self, who was once considered a dangerous champion. Both had in common a front foot style, coming forward in straight lines. This played to Eubank’s strengths as along with quick combinations and his work rate, he was able to dominate and win convincingly. During this time, his profile, especially to the casuals, was increasing as he was getting exposure on a platform that was open to approximately 50 Million people; to the point where he is arguably the second most well known British fighter behind Anthony Joshua. In these fights, the Eubank’s had made the decision to step up and establish Junior as a genuine super middleweight and go after the champions such as Groves and Degale and earn themsleves a mega domestic showdown. Slowly, but surely, Junior was starting to show he was capable of fulfilling his potential and becoming a British World Champion, replicating his father.
Fast forward to present and Junior is now considered the betting favourite in the Super Middleweight Tournament after putting on the performance of the series so far with a brutal third round knockout over previously undefeated Turk, Avni Yildrim. Many were surprised they chose to join this new knockout format in the division, due to them being previously anxious to step up competition. However, now there is a renewed sense of belief that the Eubanks are coming back to dominate British boxing and them doubters are now starting to believe it.
After progressing to the semifinals of the tournament he will meet the previous favourite and WBA Champion, George Groves, which promises to be a huge domestic fight which could be at a stadium in the UK. It will be his 28th fight and this is of course, the biggest. In his father’s 28th fight, he inflicted a points win over another domestic opponent, coming in the form of Michael Watson. By then, he had already defended his version of a world title 8 times.
Although, Eubank Juniors progression has been more steady than his father, it has given him the necessary time to learn his craft away from the bright lights and attempt to establish himself as an all time British Great, emerging out of his father’s shadows. There is a real sense of momentum and is considered to be riding a crest of a wave as he is now favourite to win the tournament and win the “Muhammad Ali Trophy” as well as pocketing approximately an enormous sum of £50 Million Pounds. As well as this, it could set up other domestic fights such as Callum Smith and the IBF champion, James Degale, which could be a massive unification showdown. And who knows, maybe be ready to box an older Gennady Golovkin? Once criticized for his management of his son, is there an argument to praise him and understand the plan for his son was correct all along?