Has Chris Eubank Junior Graduated to the Seniors?
By G.E. Simons
At the end of February, Chris Eubank Jnr. beat gold medal Olympian and former two-time IBF super-middleweight champion of the world, James DeGale, into retirement and earned a signature win in a curious career so far, which has generated column inches, the airbrushing of defeats and a rain of dollars earned.
Junior, like his decorated father, just has that thing – it is undefinable, a lightning rod from Queensbury, infuriating, probably possibly impossible to deal with but vital and engaging at the same time.
Photo Credit: Ian Walton/SHOWTIME
Very few wish to sit down at the negotiating table with the Eubanks but their enigma is such that the same very few are not prepared to nip them out of the conversation all together. And fewer still embargo the opportunity to share a ring with the descendant of British boxing royalty.
But how good is Chris Eubank Jnr., how far can he go in the glittering duo of the middle and super-middleweight divisions which he is currently straddling, and is it possible for him to step out of the haute couture shadow of his truly, eccentrically iconic bloodline.
On one hand, what is there not to like?
Junior speaks with eloquence, eschews profanity, fully understands the mechanics of the black mirror generation and fights like a savage.
On the other, critics speak of nepotistic privilege, a lack of schooling and the most basic of foundation skills, narcissistic arrogance and even a dangerous ambivalence towards the dangers of the fistic art and its ramifications.
Chris Eubank Jnr. began his boxing apprenticeship in the US through an unusual familial arrangement which saw him move stateside and reside with a legal guardian in Irene Hutton, which also delivered a dual citizenship.
The young Eubank’s pugilistic genesis however, couldn’t have begun under much better tutelage, in working out of the Las Vegas gymnasium of Hall of Fame middleweight Mike McCullum, wo said of his charge, “Everything has worked out perfectly. In a few years, England is going to have another world champ named Eubank. I go in the ring with him and he’s skillful, but he can also bang.”
An amateur career began in 2007 and a mere seven fights later he claimed the Golden Gloves title for the state of Nevada and compiled a 24-2 record in the unpaid ranks before turning professional in 2011.
Back in the UK as a fledgling pro, the services of Brighton fight game don, Ronnie Davies were retained along with a presence, mentorship and guidance from Eubank Snr. of course. But who did what, who listened to who and what plans were planned is very much up for conjecture and whatever the what, why or where, was Junior really listening anyway?
His first 18 fights were the usual trade-learning, opposition-vetting, road-bleeding, hand-raising tour of scattered British leisure centres and arenas with a detour to Denmark for a victory along the way.
So far, was so good for an aspiring pro with burgeoning buzz, name value and an increasing presence in the one-to-watch and man most likely column.
But then came Billy Joe Saunders on a cold November night and a London acid test at the docklands ExCel Arena to contest the British, European and Commonwealth middleweight titles.
This was the first real test of the junior Eubank’s abilities as a professional and to be fair, Billy Joe’s as well, although he had operated in better company with wins over Gary ‘Spike” O’ Sullivan and Nick Blackwell on his record heading into this one.
A real fight of two halves saw Saunders befuddle, shut out and shutdown Eubank over 6 opening rounds and then defend that with some scares and enhanced aggression from his opponent through the closing 6, before inflicting a split decision loss on him.
Scores of 115-114 and 115-113 for Saunders and 116-113 for Eubank Jnr. were difficult to argue with and agreement with the outcome is probably dependent on whether you prefer your boxing served cultured or aggressively.
Speaking with SKY Sports in 2016, Eubank said of the fight, “I wasn’t battered or shown up. I made the mistake of not pressing him early, pacing myself too much because it was my first 12-round fight.”
A good assessment and a fair one against a skilled operator in Billy Joe Saunders who went on to claim the WBO world middleweight title from Andy Lee and defended it with a signature victory in a hometown humbling of David Lemieux in Quebec.
For his part, Eubank went on to win eight straight in increasingly impressive style against solid opposition including the then unbeaten Dmitrii Chudinov, Gary ‘Spike’ O’ Sullivan, Arthur Abraham and Avni Yildrim, the latter as part of the lucrative World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super middleweight tournament.
A run which also included his capture of the British middleweight title in a savagely and tragically one-sided encounter with Nick Blackwell.
His show reel third round knockout of Turkey’s come-forward Yildrim set up a WBSS semi-final against the venerable WBA world champion at the weight in George Groves and represented a second step up to challenge at elite level.
Groves produced a mercurial performance in a unanimous points victory which made a mockery of his underdog status going into the fight and showed perhaps even more than the Saunders defeat, the inability of Eubank to deal with a moving, technically correct and knowing elite-level opponent.
However, the defeat did reiterate Eubank’s own attributes of iron will, proper toughness, punch volume and unerring willingness. And the changes that he seems to have now made in the aftermath of that second defeat will perhaps now combine as the cornerstones to build a final sparkling act to his career.
A rust shaking blow-out victory over the tough but outgunned JJ McDonagh on the undercard of the WBSS final in Jeddah at the end of 2018 returned Eubank to winning ways which takes us right back to the DeGale victory.
In the build-up, James DeGale described their ITV pay-per-viewer as the ‘retirement fight’ and whilst Eubank refused to even say the R word, he knew it was so.
And so it proved to be with DeGale indeed retiring in the days after 12 torrid rounds where he saw the last echoes of his skills shredded, tasted the canvas twice and looked pretty unsteady from the second round onwards.
Though he refused to admit it, Eubank knew that a defeat to a third opponent from the elites in DeGale, albeit a corroded one, would surely confine him to that frustrating tier of ability sandwiched between too good for European but not good enough for World level.
Such did he know this, that he looked for the first time to galvanise and build on those cornerstone attributes that he had shown in defeat to Saunders and Groves by appointing a new trainer, his first officially, in Nate Vasquez.
Vasquez, a Mayweather Boxing Club coach with form, seemed to have the ear of Eubank and his respect too. Whether Junior’s claims of self-tutoring up to appointing him are entirely true or not is a slippery one but he certainly listened to his new trainer’s instructions between rounds and looked to implement them.
So, the question now is, with victory over James DeGale and a public ability to take instructions and schooling from a new voice in the team, has Chris Eubank Junior finally graduated to the seniors?
He probably has.
However, that new voice in the team will no longer be that of Nate Vasquez, who speaking with SKY Sports in April confirmed that he had heard through word-of-mouth that Eubank Jnr. is now training with Virgil Hill in California.
“I don’t know if jumping trainers will help him. You can’t learn if you’re jumping trainers from time to time. If you go from trainer to trainer to trainer, it’s not good.”
Vasquez has not heard directly from Eubank following their work together for the DeGale fight, but is pragmatic, “I got the best win of his career with him. I’m not mad at him if he goes to another trainer.”
And with that the spread of possible next opponents is as broad as it is appetising, where win lose or draw he will make turnstiles spin and PPV tills ring for two or three more legacy fights at least.
A rematch with Billy Joe Saunders does great numbers and would be an intriguing match-up with both having improved since first they met. Whilst the unbeaten WBA champion Callum Smith would offer another intriguing civil war in the UK.
At 34, WBC champion Andre Dirrell offers an interesting option too in what is a really winnable one, as does the largely untested Caleb Plant, Tennessee’s unbeaten IBF belt holder.
Let’s also not forget the shadows cast and opportunities posed by Golovkin and Canelo whose radar Eubank has bleeped several times in the past
Speaking with talkSPORT Radio following the DeGale victory, Chris told the station, “For me, I’m 29 years old, I’m in the prime of my career and there’s just so much more that I wanna achieve. So many more belts that I want to collect, so I’m definitely looking now for the big names in the middleweight and the super-middleweight division.”
And that’s about the size of it.
Chris Eubank Junior always possessed every ingredient to make a massive impact except perhaps the technical seniority to worry the elite and cause trouble in the world title mix. Victory over James DeGale has given him that, his team is bolstered, his attitude has matured and his commercial alliance with ITV Boxing and PBC combine to make him a real player.
Whether this has been partly built with a victory over the carrion remains of what James DeGale had left rather than what Eubank has recently acquired remains to be seen but it will certainly be exciting and entertaining to find out.
Follow G.E. Simons on Twitter @GESimonsBoxing
What’s Next For Chris Eubank Junior?
By: Hans Themistode
Chris Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) got the biggest win of his career this past weekend when he knocked down former champion James DeGale (25-3-1, 15 KOs) twice and thoroughly dominated the contest. For Eubank Jr it was a win that he desperately needed. The story around him was that he looks like a world beater when he faces lesser opponents but when he steps up his level of competition he has failed.
It’s hard to argue against it as Eubank Jr had lost his two biggest fights of his career in George Groves and Billy Joe Saunders. Many had already written off his chances at winning. DeGale after all had the experience and pedigree advantages. Eubank Jr made a huge statement by putting on a dominant performance. Sure he picked up the IBO Super Middleweight title in the process but most importantly he proved that he can indeed raise his game when need be.
So where exactly does he go from here? Is he one of the best in the division? It’s hard to say. Was DeGale a shot fighter? It sure seemed like it. Regardless if he was or wasn’t Eubank Jr now has a signature win under his belt and a long list of fighters that he can take on next. Let’s take a look at who exactly that should be.
Over on the other side of the world Anthony Dirrell captured the WBC Super Middleweight title for the second time in his career with a win over Avni Yildirim this past weekend. It was a contest that was very close and had to be stopped in the tenth round due to a massive cut over the left eye of Dirrell due to a headbutt. That cut lead to the premature stoppage of the fight with Dirrell taking home the close victory. While Dirrell fought a back and forth affair with Yildirim, Eubank Jr dominated him when they matched up in 2017 to the tune of a third round knockout. The IBO title that Eubank Jr now possesses is not viewed as a major title. The WBC belt however is one of if not the most prestigious in all of boxing. If Eubank Jr can win against someone the caliber of Dirrell and snag the WBC title in the process then that would be a major statement.
Billy Joe Saunders
The former Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) has decided to move up to the Super Middleweight division for his next contest to take on Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO title. If Saunders comes out on top in that matchup as many expect than a rematch with his domestic rival Eubank Jr who he out pointed in 2014 would be must see television.
Since their first matchup Saunders has gone on to become one of the best boxers in the entire sport. His attitude might rub the boxing community the wrong way but his skill is undeniable. In a rematch Saunders would be the odds on favorite. With that being said however, Eubank Jr has proved that he has matured and can cause anyone issues in the ring. These two don’t like each other which only adds fuel to their rivalry. Let’s hope we get this rematch sooner rather than later.
Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) cemented himself as arguably the best in the Super Middleweight when he lifted the Muhammad Ali trophy by defeating George Groves in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series.
Smith has the boxing ability and power that can see him rule over the division for quite some time. Eubank Jr however would beg to differ as he feels as though he is the best that the division has to offer. Did I mention that both Smith and Eubank Jr are both from the United Kingdom which makes this matchup even more intriguing. Eubank Jr wants to be known as the best Super Middleweight in the world but in order to prove that he will need to defeat Callum Smith.
Showtime Boxing Results: Eubank Defeats DeGale, Joyce Batters Stiverne
By: Ste Rowen
Chris Eubank Jr forced himself into the super-middleweight world scene tonight with a deserved unanimous decision victory over former world champion, James DeGale.
Now improving his record to 28-2 (21KOs), the victor spoke post-fight,
‘‘I knew he was gonna come in there and run and use his boxing skills. I’ve been working a lot on my jab…The game plan worked. Smart pressure. Not getting too ahead of myself.
I dominated pretty much every single round…A lot of people said I was gonna lose, and now I’m onto big and better things.’’
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
The defeated DeGale, now 25-3-1 (15KOs), sounding a little dazed also spoke, ‘‘I’ve left my mark in boxing…I didn’t do enough, but when you’re in there with someone like Chris on you; punches you don’t even see.
I’ve been to the heights of boxing. If I call it a day now…’’
It was cold in the O2 Arena, but not for long.
As James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr drew nearer, the atmosphere felt more claustrophobic. As though the crowd was inching their seats forwards every time the stewards looked away. By the time the main-event fighters were in the ring, the audience was practically breathing down their necks.
From the 1st round it was setup perfectly, DeGale in all-black, Eubank in all-white but both decided to size each other up through the first. DeGale, in the southpaw stance, allowed himself to become a little too susceptible to Eubank’s right hand which forced a small cut to James’ left eye early on.
The first minute of round 2 is where the action came alive. Eubank Jr landed a sharp left hook that unsteadied DeGale and, through a flurry of punches, eventually forced the referee into recognising that James had been knocked down. DeGale’s experience was telling as he survived the rest of the round, but it was obvious that Chris was well on top.
In the corner, the former IBF champion was complaining about something in his eye – it was a bad sign for a man already behind. But Eubank, like his opponent, sustained a cut this time under his right eye, it didn’t stop the Brighton-man from ending the 4th the stronger. Through to the 7th, Eubank stalked the perceived boxer across the ring whilst the former gold medallist did very little to reply.
As round 7 ended, DeGale stuck his tongue out to his opponent, which was an odd move considering Chris seemingly bossed the end of the round. DeGale kept switching between southpaw and orthodox, but neither was breaking through.
As the fight headed into the 10th Eubank seemed well on top. DeGale hit the canvas for the second time as Eubank landed a beauty of a left hook that shook up the former world champion, forced James onto the ropes and eventually the ground. DeGale survived, but it was clear he needed the KO, but it was Eubank Jr that came out swinging. By the end of the 11th, career-southpaw DeGale was orthodox and everywhere.
Both fighters raised their arms as the final bell rang but it seemed cleared who’d won. DeGale, the legitimate former world title holder had fallen well short.
Of course it’s never a chore to hear Jimmy Lennon Jr and it wasn’t this time as he read out the judge’s cards of, 114-112, 115-112, 117-109 all for Eubank Jr.
Joe Joyce vs. Bermane Stiverne
Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce took another step up in quality tonight as the British Olympian (2016 Silver) scored a 6th round stoppage of former world champion, Bermane Stiverne.
Dominant from beginning to end, the Commonwealth champion, now 8-0 (8KOs), spoke post-fight,
‘‘Big respect to Stiverne. He was very tough, still game, still tough. Only Wilder with that phenomenal power could take him out…My able condition in Big Bear.
Big things to come. Next one for the WBA ‘Regular’. Couple of weeks off and then back in the gym…I’ve barred all (The top heavyweights) bar Wilder, but I’m coming.’’
In a fight designated as a WBA eliminator Joyce had his chin checked at least twice in the 1st round but seemed unaffected and continued to pursue his prey. His shots may look slow, but Joe’s arms are long and thudding once landed and clearly leave an effect. Stiverne looked apprehensive as he stepped off his stool for the 2nd however he did begin to throw back, but only for a brief spell. The ‘Juggernaut’ fired clubbing shot after clubbing shot without reply for most of the round. Testament to the former world champion, Bermane for staying upright.
Round 3 brought the first knockdown as Joyce landed a lengthy right hook that sent the American into the ropes and forced the knockdown. Bermane continued but it felt pointless. Stiverne looked drunk as he tried to evade Joyce’s heavy combinations but survived into the 6th.
Joe dominated behind the left-hand jab until he seemed to switch flavour and fired hook and power shot continuously, forcing referee Howard Foster into stopping the fight midway through round six. There were no complaints from the away fighter.
Lee Selby vs. Omar Douglas
Fighting in his first lightweight bout, and for a minor title at 135lb, Lee ‘Lightning’ Selby bounced back from his May 2018 defeat to Josh Warrington to rough it out in a twelve round unanimous decision victory over American, Omar Douglas.
‘‘That was one of the toughest.’’ Selby said. ‘‘In the fight I kept on undoing their (His cut-men’s) good work.
Douglas was supposed to be a big puncher and I held his shots well…If my management says I’m fighting Anthony Joshua tomorrow, I wouldn’t turn it down.’’
In his signature white and gold shorts, Selby of Wales, forced an energetic start onto the American. Lee clearly wanted to make an early impression in what was a new division for him. Douglas’ dreads (white at the start but red by the end) were wrapped up much like his hands, so every time Selby landed a clean jab, Omar’s head fired back and made him look like Ridley Scott’s Alien.
But towards the end of round two a bloody cut on the eye of Lee Selby opened up, much like in his fight vs. Warrington. It didn’t stutter his performance for that round, but it did create a new element to the fight. The Welshman continued to fire off well, despite the cut, but it was clear Lee wasn’t as urgent in his offence as before the cut.
Omar has spent his career bouncing between 130-135 and as the rounds drew on he was giving Lee, who’d jumped 9lb in weight, a rough entry into the lightweight division. By the time of the final bell it was close as well as clear that ‘Lightning’ had taken the rough alleyway to enter 135lb.
Final scorecards were 116-112, 116-112, 115-114 all in favour of Lee Selby.
James DeGale vs Chris Eubank Jr: Make It or Break It
By: Waqas Ali
As the war of words continues, only one fighter will have his career going further on fight night and the other could contemplate retirement.
James ‘Chunky’ DeGale will be facing fellow countrymen Chris Eubank Jr at the O2 arena in London, England.
This will be the first time in eight years where DeGale will be facing a British fighter and fighting in that arena.
The bout will be for the IBO super-middleweight belt and will be broadcasted live on ITV Box Office.
The feud between the pair had been going on for more than five years but only last year had the trash talking been taken in serious consideration of a potential bout.
DeGale (25-2-1) won his IBF super-middleweight belt from Caleb Traux in a rematch last year and vacated it in July 2018 in order to pursue a bigger fight paycheck with better opposition.
The current No.5 ranked fighter by Ring Magazine did fight a journeyman named Fidel Muñoz two months after his relinquishment of the IBF title and stopped him in three rounds.
Both DeGale and Eubank Jr had been hinting the other to retire should the other man lose.
Fans of DeGale had been pointing to the fact that DeGale, 33, had lost interest in the fight game. This is in evidence of his previous performances that were shown to be competitive.
The two fights with Traux, in particular, were back and forth exchanges and at one point DeGale was cut above his right eye.
But the Hammersmith-based fighter insisted that he’s not ready to give up yet and is ready to trade shots with Eubank Jr.
He said: “There are a lot of questions hanging over it.
“Is JD shot? Am I on the decline? Is Eubank that good?
“I’m going to give him another chance to see if he’s that good, so it’s spicy.
“Going by my last couple of performances, people will probably say, ‘Yeah, he’s on the decline’, and I can see that.
“But I don’t give up, I’ve got balls, heart and desire — to mix it with the big boys and achieve what I have achieved, you have to heart.
“Eubank has a lot of good attributes. He’s tough, strong, he has a good chin, he doesn’t mind if it gets hard.
“But you need more than that to mix it at the top and become world champion.”
Eubank Jr (27-2), 29, also like DeGale came off a tough battle that questioned his ability with top-level opposition.
He lost to former WBA super-middleweight titlist George Groves in a World Super Series contest in the semi-final and was left with a massive cut in his right eye.
He then fought Irish boxer JJ McDonagh several months later and stopped in three rounds.
The current No.8 ranked Ring Magazine fighter says that DeGale will be well prepared for this all-star domestic clash but this fight could be one step closer retirement for him.
“He’s the type of fighter who rises to the occasion,” Eubank Jr said.
“If he’s got someone he doesn’t respect or fear, then that shows in his performance. He respects me and knows what’s coming, so he’s going to be on form.
“He’s had some hard fights, that’s for sure. It’s one of those things – a fight like this especially against me – could be career ending.
“I’m relentless, I don’t stop. Volume, speed, power, it’s all a dangerous combination, and he knows that.
“But the fact he knows that is why we’re going to see the best James DeGale we’ve seen for a long time.
“He knows I’m a livewire and that I’m dangerous; he knows being ill-prepared is dangerous for his health. I don’t think he’s going to put himself in that position.”
From what the boxing world thinks in the outcome of this fight, the majority have it for Degale.
According to a poll conducted by Boxing News, 55% of voters chose Degale to win on points, 10% by KO and only 21% for Eubank Jr by decision.
But what are the stats, stakes and solutions for each fighter?
Degale stands at 6 feet 0 inches and a reach of 74”. In his last six fights, he’s won four, lost one and drew one. He is a southpaw and his style consists of being an effective counterpuncher. He throws numerous shots to the body and often counters to the head with a left uppercut. Though his knockout ratio stands at a rate of 54%, he does have the ability to knock fighters down.
In terms of the numbers, DeGale throws around 46 punches and lands around 17. His connect rate is at 37% while the average super-middleweight connects at 30% and throws around 53 punches. By the power punches, DeGale lands at 13 with a connect percentage of 43%. While the average super-middleweight lands around 11 with a connect percentage of 37.
Eubank Jr has a reach of 72” and a height of 5 feet 11 inches. His knockout ratio (73%) stands much higher than DeGale’s and in his last six bouts, he won five and lost one. Out of his five wins, four were by KO/stoppages.
Eubank Jr has ferocious speed and ability when it comes to letting his hands go. He is more of an inside fighter and trades with right hands, left hooks and uppercuts. He does lack the power ability of a one-punch knockout finish. This is opposite to his Father Chris Eubank Sr who was known to be a knockout finisher. From a viewing point, Eubank Jr tends to throw a frequent amount of power punches that do not result in a knockout finish but rather a stoppage.
However, by the numbers, Eubank Jr, is highly active. Considering the fact that he throws around 61 punches and lands 21 with a connect rate of 34%. In the power punching department, he lands around 15 with a connect rate of 43%. His opponents landed just 4.4 power punches per round which is less than half the super middleweight average and landing at just 14%. He also likes to provide a bit of showmanship or as others would call it showboating. This can be a psychological factor that is often done by Eubank Jr and many fans find it detesting from their point of view.
Judging by the numbers for both fighters, Eubank Jr has a good activity level and accuracy both in total punches and the power punching rate.
His punches can be as grilling as a chef cooking a grilled chicken. It can be an unbearable amount of heat to take.
For DeGale, one must be aware that his opponents have landed 34% of their power shots on him.
In this particular context, the defence would need improving. This could mean he an easy target to hit – considering the inside exchanges. Based on the whole fight, both fighters know this is a make or break for them. The stakes are high and both fighters will need to be cautious with their punches as well as their styles. This includes speed, timing, accuracy, power and agility. DeGale will need to prove to the world that he’s vacated his belt for the right reasons by fighting Eubank Jr and beating him. For Eubank Jr, he needs to prove that he can compete with the boxing elites and prove that he is a great fighter.
Algieri Aims For World Title Shot
By: Sean Crose
“I see World title fights for me this year, “former WBO junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri says. “The key is being active. I want to fight every other month, so the focus is win on January 18, get another fight in March and just keep building.” Algieri, who took several years off from the ring, returned last November by besting Angel Hernandez in Algieri’s hometown of Huntington, Long Island. Now the 22-3 New Yorker is set to face Danny Gonzalez at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Center on the 18th of this month. The fight will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service here in the United States.
“Words cannot express how excited I am to get back into the ring just seven weeks after my long awaited return to the ring,” Algieri says. “On top of that excitement I will(be) fighting in New York City at the world famous Madison Square Garden that will be seen live on the premier sports streaming network DAZN.” Algieri made his name when he stunned Ruslan Provodnikov for the junior welterweight championship in 2014. His next fight, however, was a one sided loss in the welterweight division to all-time great Manny Pacquiao.
Following two more losses to top names Amir Khan, and Errol Spence, Algieri stepped away from the ring for around two and a half years, working as a nutritionist, sometimes for noted fighters like Daniel Jacobs. Now that he’s returned and has another win on his resume, the 34-year-old vet is eager to move forward in the division of his past glory – junior welterweight. “I will prepare to be my absolute best,” he says. “I will bring my all and I fight with the heart and tenacity that the boxing public has come to know and love. January 18 is going to be a glorious night and I am sure my strong Long Island contingent will be loud and proud!”
Algieri is particularly happy to be facing the 17-1-1 Gonzalez at Madison Square Garden. “If you ask any fighter in the world and they will all tell you – there is just something inherently special about fighting at The Garden,” he says.” This fight represents another step towards my ultimate goal of regaining my World title at Super Lightweight. I understand the magnitude of this event and know that at this stage of my career each fight is the most important of my life”.
DeGale-Eubank Jr. Feb. 23 Grudge Match Launches PBC UK Debut
By Jake Donovan
James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. finally get to settle things in the ring.
The pair of British super middleweights and longtime domestic rivals will collide on February 23 at The O2 in London, with the bout formally announced at a press conference held on site Thursday afternoon.
“I’d like to say how personally proud I am of this new relationship between Premier Boxing Champions and ITV,” stated promoter Richard Poxon, whose Poxon Sports will present the event live on ITV Box Office in the UK. “This is a fantastic all British super-middleweight fight that takes us back to the glory days on ITV.
“For the first British event (under the new deal between PBC and ITV), it’s probably the most anticipated event of recent years. This has every ingredient to be a great event. We’re looking forward to the buildup and of course looking forward to a great fight.”
There will be far less at stake than was the case when the two were first on each other’s radar. In the time that has passed since interest in such a grudge match first made the rounds, DeGale (25-2-1) has won, lost, regained and vacated a super middleweight title.
Meanwhile, Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21KOs) will enter fight night barely a year removed from his disappointing points loss to George Groves in their title fight last February. A win would’ve advanced the second-generation boxer into the World Boxing Super Series finals versus Callum Smith; instead, it left him without a career-defining win and a lot to prove.
It also made it easier to finalize terms to face DeGale, a fitting debut for PBC expanding its brand to the United Kingdom four years after its initial U.S. launch in 2015.
“At this stage of my career, big fights, fan-favorite fights are all that I’m after,” Eubank Jr. said during Thursday’s press conference. “This fight has been 4-5 years in the making.”
Of course, being the son of legendary former two-division titlist Chris Eubank Sr. made him recognizable name from the moment he turned pro in 2011. What caught the eye of his upcoming opponent, though, was Eubank Jr’s awareness of those around him at that time.
“This fight has been a long time coming,” acknowledges DeGale, a 2008 Olympic Gold medalist for Great Britain and two-tour super middleweight titlist. “A lot of people have been calling for this fight. Chris has been calling for this fight.
“When the guy first turned pro, he was calling me out. He’s very deluded and now I’ve finally got the chance to deal with this guy, good and proper.”
The moment will come without a major belt on the line. DeGale regained his title in a points win over Caleb Truax last April after suffering a shocking loss to the American in Dec. ’17, which initially ended his 2 ½ year title reign.
His first title win was a historic moment, becoming the first ever Olympic Gold medalist from Great Britian to win a major title in outpointing Andre Dirrell in their May ’15 clash.
The second tour was short-lived and without fanfare or even a single defense. DeGale opted to vacate in order to search for bigger fights rather than be contractually bound to a mandatory title defense versus Jose Uzcategui. Among the bouts discussed was an eventual showdown with Eubank Jr., a fight that was factored into PBC moving forward with its long-discussed plans of launching its brand in the U.K. market.
Both boxers took on separate tune-ups in the interim, each scoring 3rd round knockouts just two days apart. Eubank Jr’s return to the win column came in an uninspiring stoppage of JJ McDonagh last September in Saudi Arabia, on the undercard of Smith’s knockout win over Groves to win the WBSS super middleweight tournament.
Two days later, DeGale claimed an early hit of Mexico’s Fidel Monterrosa in a bout buried deep on the non-televised portion of a PBC on FS1 show in California.
Little was made of either contest, other than marking time for their eventual head-on collision. Whereas such a fight could have arguably declared the best super middleweight in the world a year or two ago, the February 23 clash has become must-win for both boxers.
“We can call this the retirement fight,” DeGale repeatedly insisted during Thursday’s press conference. “Whoever loses, can knock it on the head. Call it a retirement fight because whoever loses, game over.”
The sentiment wasn’t exactly shared on the other side of the dais.
“Speak for yourself, James,” Eubank Jr. quipped of the notion. “James is talking about retirement. That thought has never entered my mind.”
What has entered his mind, however, was getting game-ready for this bout and functionally for the rest of his career. The 29-year old admits to having been self-trained for his past few contests, but will enter this under the watchful eye of a new—and full-time—coach.
“I haven’t really had an official trainer,” Eubank Jr. confessed in regretting past decisions that have left him in must-win territory. “Ronnie Davies has always been with me, but was never my full time trainer, he was more of an overseer. I was basically training myself.
“This fight will be different. I’m training with a man named Nate Vasquez, who has been living with me full-time. He had to fly home for Christmas but is now back with me. It’s great to have a guy working with me full time, fixing the things I need to work on rather than someone just going through the motions. It’s going to take me to the next level.”
It will have to, as Eubank Jr. has yet to land the type of breakout victory that has advanced his career from potential to confirmed greatness. He was aggressively moved early in his career, perhaps not quite ready for “the next level” in dropping a dull 12-round decision to then-rising contender Billy Joe Saunders, who would go on to win a middleweight title.
The path was similar to that of DeGale, who was paired early in his career with Groves when both were unbeaten prospects. Groves won a tightly contested decision, but it was DeGale who would be the first to win a major title in outpointing Dirrell on U.S. soil.
Three successful title defenses followed, including a 12-round draw with Badou Jack in their Jan. ’17 war. DeGale—who turns 33 in February—remained with a belt around his waist, but the majority draw coupled with the upset loss to Truax that following December left the Brit without a win since barely getting past Rogelio Medina in April ’16.
He now enters this grudge match with two straight victories. The former two-time titlist is also equipped with the more proven track record in big fights and—he believes—has far more left to offer the sport, which he doesn’t believe to be the case for his future opponent.
“After he’s lost to me, I’m not too sure where he’s going to go,” DeGale wondered aloud. “Fortunately, we only have seven more weeks to wait. I’m ready to go.”
Chris Algieri To Return To The Ring On November 30th
By: Sean Crose
“The prodigal son will return home for the first time in over 4 years as former World Champion Chris Algieri returns to The Paramount on November 30th, making his long-awaited comeback at the venue where it all started.” With those words, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing announced the return of Chris Algieri, who once held the WBO junior welterweight title before moving on to fight such top names as Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and Errol Spence. New York’s Algieri lost those major fights (which all occurred after he rose up to welterweight), then stayed out of the ring for two and a half years.
Now, with long time issues with DeGuardia and company settled, the Long Islander is set to return to The Paramount, the place where he first earned his reputation as a fighter to watch. “I can’t express how happy I am to be back,” Algieri is quoted as saying. “It has been a long time coming and it is the perfect time to step back into the sport. I am looking forward to returning to the junior welterweight division and win another world title. There are a lot of good fights for me down the line and I can’t wait to be back in the mix on the world stage.”
“I look forward to Chris’ return,” said DeGuardia, “especially in the junior welterweight division, where he has never lost a fight. I am confident we will get him another world title fight very soon”. Algieri surprised many people when he got off the mat and went on to win a decision against the feared Ruslan Provodnikov back in 2014. This led to a major payday with Pacquiao, who thoroughly bested Algieri when they met in Macao later that same year. Algieri went on to battle Khan gamely before being wiped out by Spence in 2016.
Since that time, Algieri has gone on to earn a reputation as a nutritionist who works with other fighters, particularly middleweight heavy hitter Daniel Jacobs. “Algieri decided a couple of months ago that he was ready to make a comeback,” Star Boxing announced, “and re-signed a promotional agreement with his long-time promoter Joe DeGuardia and Star Boxing. The two agreed it was time to return to the roots of Algieri’s career and give back to the loyal Long Island fans.” Algieri has made it clear he’s particularly happy to return to the Paramount in Huntington, New York, where he has won at least eight of his professional bouts.
“I am thrilled to return to the Paramount where my last successful title run began,” he said. “The growth of my fanbase has always been an organically grown, grass roots approach; so it feels only right to give back to my hometown fans in this way”.
Time for Chris Eubank Jr. to Face Reality
by B.A. Cass
There is a disparity in how Chris Eubank Jr. comports himself outside the ring and how he fights once he is in the ring. In a prefight interview, a cool and collected Eubank Jr. told one interviewer that Groves was “ready to be taken out, man. He doesn’t want to be here. I just sense weakness in him. . . . I was telling him you’re not ready. You’re in serious danger here.” However, on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena, Eubank Jr. proved that he was the one who is not ready. Swinging wildly and often missing, he looked worse than amateur. At least a good amateur has his fundamentals intact.
After listening to Eubank Jr.’s trash talking, it was embarrassing to watch him try to box. There were times when he wound up so hard with his left hook that when he missed Groves, his momentum spun him nearly 180 degrees. He left himself open and vulnerable on many occasions, and he seemed to have absolutely no strategy.
What is truly sad, though, is that Eubank Jr. refuses to see reality. Apparently, he trained himself for the Groves fight, which was the biggest fight of his career. The fact that he does not believe he needs to have a trainer should tell us all we need to know about Eubank Jr. He may have determination and guts, but he doesn’t take boxing seriously. He takes himself seriously—that much is clear—which is exactly why he’s such a joke. Aside from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Eubank Jr. is boxing’s best-known daddy’s boy. As the son of the great former boxer, Eubank Jr. thinks that just being who he is enough to make him great. It doesn’t.
In his post-fight analysis, Prince Naseem Hamed said, “[Eubank Jr.] is not at this level and he is not such a good fighter that he is making himself out to be. He ain’t going to win unbelievable things. Let’s just talk reality, let’s bring it down to where it really is. Let’s talk the truth right now. Is this guy a world beater? No, he’s not. In three years or four years, he still won’t be.”
Achieving excellence in any sport requires not only discipline and skill but the ability to assess and compensate for deficiencies. Eubank Jr. has potential. Presently, however, he is unwilling to look at his flaws or to surround himself with people who will challenge him to improve. Unless Junior makes some drastic changes, Hamed’s assessment will certainly prove prophetic.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
WBSS Preview: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr.
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night in Manchester, an all-British world title fight takes place when WBA super middleweight champion, George Groves 27-3 (20KOs), steps into the ring with IBO belt holder, Chris Eubank Jr 26-1 (20KOs) in the much-anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.
Both boxers made easy work of their quarterfinal opponents back in October.
At Wembley Arena, ‘Saint’ George Groves knocked out fellow Brit, Jamie Cox in the 4th round with a clinical body shot that kept Cox down for the count and served as Groves’ first defence of his WBA belt, which he won back in April after stopping Fedor Chudinov.
In the pre-fight documentary, still available on the WBSS YouTube channel, Groves said…
‘I don’t like to waste shots so anything I do throw, believe me you’re gonna get hit with it… There’s absolutely nothing there for me to worry about because there’s gaping, gaping holes in that style, in that approach.
He’s a blown-up middleweight who’s come into this tournament to try and build his profile… If he managed to beat me he’ll be the next coming but if he fails he’s gonna have the biggest fall from grace that we’ve had in this country for a long time.’
Away from home and in the heated atmosphere of Stuttgart, Eubank knocked out, walking punchbag Avni Yildrim in the 3rd round of his quarterfinal bout, with a devastating right hook that finished the Turk off, after already forcing his opponent into briefly taking a knee in the first round following an uppercut.
Speaking on his own and his opponent’s capabilities, Chris was in confident mood…
‘It’s more than possible to push through that pain barrier and get up, and I’m sure that he’ll try and use that against me and I’m sure I’ll be prepared for it… It won’t go the 12 rounds, somebody’s getting knocked out. This chin doesn’t have an off button, his does.
I don’t have any hate for the guy, he’s just a guy with a belt that I need to get passed to win the tournament. I keep my emotions out of boxing. It’s nothing personal, it’s just punishment.’
It’s a difficult fight to conclusively call. It could come down to how well Groves weathers the storm in the early rounds and whether his chin holds up as well as it did against Chudinov. Along with being able to slip and counter off the ropes, if Groves is able to fire off the selection of shots we’ve seen in his 6-fight win streak since losing to Badou Jack back in 2015, Eubank will need to do more to protect himself when those huge swinging hooks go amiss.
Eubank may not be pillow-fisted, but he’s lacking that one-punch KO power. Even in his previous bout, the IBO champion constantly landed cleanly throughout the 3 rounds. It’s difficult to envisage a scenario where a seasoned pro like George Groves, gives his semi-final foe so many opportunities to take him out.
The second semi-final takes place next week in Nuremberg as super middle & light heavyweight veteran, Jurgen Braehmer, 49-3 (35KOs) goes up against 23-0 (17KOs) Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith. The winners will progress to a final that’s expected to take place in early June at London’s O2 arena.
On the undercard, and as long as there’s no late injury to either of the main event fighters, WBSS super middleweight injury reserve, Zach Parker, 14-0 (10KOs) will take on 16-6-2 (10KOs), Adasat Rodriguez.
Two British title fights will also be on the undercard as Ryan Walsh takes on unbeaten, Isaac Lowe; and Tommy Langford is up against Jack Arnfield for the middleweight belt.
Both Walsh and Lowe have a mutual opponent on their records in Denis Ceylan who Lowe fought to a disputed draw, in March 2017; Walsh was beaten on a split decision to Ceylan five months earlier.
It’ll be the first time Tommy Langford, 19-1 (6KOs) defends his British title since 2016, after a 1-1 record in 2017. He was comprehensively knocked out by Avtandil Khurtsidze back in April and ended the year with a routine comeback points victory over 11-36-1 Miguel Aguilar. Jack Arnfield is currently on a six-fight win streak including wins over John Ryder, and former junior middleweight world title challenger, Brian Rose.
The Battle for Super Middleweight Supremacy: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr.
By: Niki Ross
Last week saw the Matchroom card “British Beef” take place at the London O2 Arena, the main event pitted Olympian Lawrence Okolie against the skilled prospect Issac Chamberlain.
This was promoted as a grudge match between two hungry prospects at the start of their career looking to chalk up the first significant win over a local rival. Unfortunately, despite one of the fighters being nicknamed “Sauce”, the main event of British Beef turned out to be pretty tough to swallow.
All eyes will now be turning to Feb 17th. This fight should be close and action is nothing short of certain. Both fighters look to secure a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament against Callum Smith and both fighters have had wars in sparring previously. History and bad blood makes this an intriguing fixture.
Chris Eubank Jr is pencilled as the bookmaker’s favourite. His recent wins have been a display of eye watering hand speed and versatile punch selection. He is comfortable lashing in five and six punch combinations which often pass in the blink of an eye. As with most young athletes these days he has also taken to YouTube to help raise his stock with footage of sparring and tearing apart punch bags. Regularly putting the hurt on unwitting sparring partners in a grandiose display of poor sportsman which smells like it has Eubank Snr’s influence all over it.
To the casual fan, Eubank Jr will be an attractive fighter to invest time and money in. Loosely following the Mayweather blueprint, he likes to showboat and entertain with gym clips and cute training montages. Take a look at his boxing record however and you’ll see that its built on soft ground. He’s yet to face an elite level fighter. On his day Billy Joe Saunders is world class and that’s where Eubank Jr came unstuck previously. Since that loss he has failed to up the standard of competition to a level where he really tests himself and learns the crucial lessons about swimming in deep waters. Of his 20 KO’s only one has been a straight knockout, the rest were all TKO’s. Chris Eubank Jr, for all his gusto, lacks knockout power.
George Groves has previously walked the walk and he’s consistently fought tougher opposition. A new partnership with trainer Shane McGuigan has sparked a renaissance in George Groves winning a world title in the process. Unlike Eubank Jr, Groves has punching power which can stop a man dead. Carl Froch went down for the second time in his colourful career when Groves delivered a solid right hand, the Cobra was not a man who was easily hurt.
The physical attributes of both fighters will probably be where this fight is won or lost. Eubank Jr is not a big 168lb’er and his lack of knockout power highlights this. If he maintains a high punch output he should see out a victory, a stoppage is possible, George Groves is not a hard man to hit. Groves on the other hand is the natural super middleweight, he has power, he hits hard. He’s seen off a number of quality opponents and the experience will give him an extra advantage in this fight. If he can withstand Eubank Jr’s ferocious onslaughts his power and experience could prevail in the later rounds. Eubank has a very slim torso, some early body work could take the wind out of his sails if Groves can find his way in.
This is a good match up which will answer more questions than it creates. If Eubank Jr scores an impressive victory he has to be taken serious as a top contender at super middleweight. If Groves picks up the win it cements his status in the divison as a dangerous title holder. His CV is rich with credible opponents and career defining fights. He seldom made it easy for himself, his victories have not always been convincing but he’s come through them and in the process learned more about himself and the sport than his opponent. It is refreshing that with this tournament, boxing has produced such an organic means of crowning the best fighter in a division. For these two fighters however, this fight already brings the gravity of a final, in terms of significance, this fight is the one which neither fighter can afford to lose.
Boxing insider Interview: Cruiserweight Prospect Chris Billam-Smith
By: Oliver McManus
Off the back of our British Boxers to Watch feature, I spoke to 4 and 0 Cruiserweight prospect Chris Billam-Smith about his career thus far and what the future has in store for him – boxing on Cyclone Promotions shows, the Bournemouth-born fighter has a 100% knockout percentage having defeated (seeing as it’s only four names, I’ll list them all) Russ Henshaw, Aleksandar Todorovic, Jan Hrazdira and Lazslo Ivanyi to the plaudits of the boxing community.
Chris, pleasure to speak to you, first year in the pro ranks – how do you think it’s gone?
It’s been great. A great opportunity me to work with a great team and great people. I had a busy 11 weeks from September to December with 4 fights which is also great, so I’m a lucky man.
You’ve fought four times in three months, are you looking to keep that sort of regularity going into 2018?
A bit more rest would be good! I’m sure it will slow down a bit now as going into 6 and 8 rounders before hopefully fighting for a title towards the end of the year. Whatever the title may be.
What do you make of the quality of fighter you’ve faced? They’ve certainly not been walkovers but you’ve dispatched with them emphatically.
Well you know how the business works. These are guys I’m supposed to be beating so I’m not getting ahead of myself. I’ve just been accurate and timed shots well. But tougher tests will come and I look forward to them especially domestically it’s becoming an exciting division.
You’re nicknamed The Gentleman, where does this come from?
It was Shanes shout. We had a few nicknames chucked about in gym CBSExpress was a close 2nd but Shane said because of my manners and the way I conduct myself. I have my father to thank for that as he is a gent.
How would you describe your fighting style?
I’m not sure really I’ll let you guys (the media)* describe it how you wish. All I know is I’ll be in some great exciting fights.
*for what it’s worth, this is how I described his style; “the youngster already showcasing a full range of skills that are destined to take him far – a prolific body puncher, his right hand hook is ferocious to say least and enough to send anyone crumpling to the canvas.”
Do you think you’re amateur experience helps you transition easily into the paid ranks?
Yeah because as an amateur I was a boxer through and through and boxed as an Elite from my 15th fight after I won the novices so I was always used to boxing good opposition.
You’re promoted and trained by the McGuigan’s who also promote Chantelle Cameron and Josh Taylor – how exciting is the future for Cyclone?
Very exciting. Especially as bit Chantelle and Josh Taylor are on the verge on winning world titles. It’s a great atmosphere in the gym. And we’re all grafting away and loving the big nights.
You’ve sparred both Isaac Chamberlain and Lawrence Okolie – from your experience, who wins that fight?
I sparred Okolie as an amateur so both him and I would’ve improved since then, but Chamberlain I have sparred more recently. I really can’t pick them as Chamberlain is hard to hit clean so will that nullify Okolie’s power? But Okolie isn’t all just saw power he is good at setting shots up too. It is a great fight and one I look forward to watching. If I had to make a decision is edge towards Okolie but no result will surprise.
I’ve heard you say you think more free to air boxing would help the sport, how has it benefited your career?
It’s been great. I’ve boxed in Scotland and Leicester so quite a long way from home and the ones who haven’t been able to travel have been able to watch me On TV. I’m getting a great backing and I’ve been stopped by strangers saying nice things to me so it’s great that not only me, but the sport as a whole is getting more exposure.
And finally then what are your plans for 2018, are you looking at any particular title fights?
Keep winning, keep the stoppages coming, keep enjoying myself and improving and get a title before the year is up. It doesn’t matter which one at this stage as it’s still early but I’m ready to get one as soon as obligations like fight in a scheduled 8 rounder are met.
Cheers for speaking to us at Boxing Insider, all the best!
Thank you guys for the interview. All the best
Many thanks, then, to Chris for taking the time out to speak to us ahead of what promises to be an exciting year and, indeed, career in general.
Let me just say that his nickname, The Gentleman, could not be a truer summarisation of his character – a truly humble man, full of manners, and a delight to speak to.
A really exciting fight that I’d like to see the youngster in would be a match-up with Wadi Camacho, potentially for the Southern Area championship, which would provide him with a good opportunity to test his array of skills against a domestic fighter who has stood the test of time.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Groves, Arum, Holyfield, Hernandez, Eubank, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 21st to November 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Holyfield and Arum Headline 2018 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Class
Evander Holyfield and Bob Arum headline the 2018 inductees into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) has announced its 25 member 2018 Induction Class, which also includes President Donald J. Trump. This epic event will take place at The Claridge, a Radisson Hotel located at Park Place & Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 1 – 3, 2018.
Atlantic City, New Jersey Mayor-Elect Frank M. Gilliam Jr. commented, “The future of boxing in Atlantic City is brighter than ever. Being the newly elected Mayor of the City of Atlantic City, New Jersey it gives me great honor to be a part of bringing the 2nd Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend back to our Great City. I believe boxing and Atlantic City has always been a natural fit and we see it returning to its glory days, and under my administration, we plan on welcoming it back wholeheartedly: Congratulations to the ACBHOF “2018” Inductees!”
The Claridge Hotel serves as the signature Corporate Sponsor for this knockout weekend, “The Claridge is proud to be in partnership with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and to continue to promote professional boxing’s exceptional history in Atlantic City,” says Cem Erenler, Vice President/ Operations & Business Development for TMJ Properties, the owner and developer of The Claridge. The iconic hotel, which is now part of the global Radisson brand first opened in 1930. “Hosting this signature event is in the best traditions of The Claridge, which for more than 80 years has been Atlantic City’s center for exciting events in sports and entertainment,” Mr. Erenler said.
Evander Holyfield stated: “I have many great memories fighting in Atlantic City, and I am honored to be inducted into its Hall of Fame.”
The 2nd Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend will honor some of the world’s most prominent trailblazers from the sport of boxing: President Donald J. Trump, José Sulaimán, and Bob Arum are just a few names who will be enshrined with the 2018 induction class. Also expected to be in attendance; current and former boxing champions, and VIP Guests for a fun-filled weekend that’s highlighted by a black-tie evening, and the acclaimed, unforgettable Induction Ceremony.
“The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is here to stay! The epic success of our 2017 Inaugural Induction weekend was pivotal to our brand value in the boxing and business community,” said Rodrick Green Vice President and Business Strategist for ACBHOF. “We are excited about the economic and sports entertainment impact the ACBHOF will continue to have in Atlantic City. Thank you for your support and be reassured that at the 2018 Induction Celebration the bar will be raised even higher.
Over the next several weeks there will be updates on the schedule of events, room packages and expected VIP appearances on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.
“We’re excited about the ACBHOF 2018 Induction Class; I believe our nomination committee did an incredible job in selecting a diverse and richly deserving group of individuals. I’m extremely proud of this class because it contains three remarkable women: Diane Fischer-Cristiano, Jean Williams, and Marian Muhammad. The ACBHOF team along with our partners and sponsors are looking forward to June where we will pay homage to our 2018 inductees,” said Ray McCline ACBHOF President and Founder.
Tickets for Groves-Eubank Jr. Sold Out in Seven Minutes
It took seven minutes to sell out the Ali Trophy semi-final bout between WBA Super World Champion George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and IBO-Champ Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1,20 KOs) at the Manchester Arena on February 17, 2018.
Europe’s largest purpose-built indoor arena will be at capacity to witness what promises to be the biggest Super Middleweight night in years.
“This is a sensational start to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa’s CEO.
“I said before we went on sale that the fight between Groves and Eubank Jr. represents the boxing event fans cannot afford to miss, and I am happy to say that I was right.”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “This is clearly the fight everyone wanted and I am sure this super-fight will capture not only a nation but a generation of fight fans.”
“The build-up is going to be huge and we can’t wait to go to Manchester for a sold out event between two spectacular rivals and world-class fighters.”
“We will work hard over the coming weeks to release extra tickets to meet the huge demand for this fight.”
The build-up to the all-British grudge match begins today when Groves and Eubank Jr. come face-to-face at a kickoff press conference at 2 pm in London.
ITV will be live streaming the press conference on ITV Box Office, YouTube and Facebook.
The Ali Trophy super middleweight semi-final between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. will be live on ITV Box Office on February 17.
Lucas Matthysse and Jorge Linares to Headline HBO Card at Los Angeles Forum
Two of the world’s most exciting fighters, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) and Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), will kick off the 2018 boxing year with a bang as they compete in separate world championship bouts on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.
The first co-main event will see the 35-year-old Matthysse, an absolutely thunderous puncher out of Chubut, Argentina, facing undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0. 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship.
“I am honored to be able to fight for a world championship in just my second fight at welterweight,” said Matthysse, a former interim world champion at 140 pounds who has defeated the likes of former two-division champion Lamont “Havoc” Peterson, formerWBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and former three-division titlist Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto. “I understand I am facing a younger, undefeated opponent, but I am confident that ‘The Machine’ will emerge victorious.”
Since turning pro at the age of 15, Kiram has torn through an astounding 38 opponents, with 28 of them never hearing the final bell. He won the interim PABA Welterweight Championship in just his sixth fight and defended it – and the full PABA Welterweight title – more than 30 times over seven years. This will mark his first fight outside of Thailand.
“I understand not many people know me in the U.S., but they are in for a big surprise on Jan. 27,” Kiram said. “I have never been defeated, and I am fully confident that I will return to Thailand with the WBA Welterweight World Championship around my waist.”
In the second co-main event, Linares, a 32-year-old Venezuelan considered one of the top fighters in the world, will make his second trip to the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in a row to defend his multiple lightweight world championships against the once-defeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs).
“I have travelled all over the world to win and defend my titles, and I am looking forward to having my hand raised in victory once again in America,” said Linares, the three-division world champion who holds victories over world champions and contenders such as Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla, Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell and Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz. “I know that Gesta has speed and power, but he hasn’t been at this level before, and on Jan. 27, he’ll know what it’s like to face a world champion.”
Gesta, a 30-year-old from the Philippines, has not tasted defeat in six fights, beating quality opponents including Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez and former contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio. Gesta is getting his second shot at a world championship more than five years after dropping a unanimous decision to Miguel “Titere” Vazquez for the IBF World Lightweight Championship.
“I know firsthand how long it takes to get a shot at a world championship, and I will not allow this opportunity to pass me by,” Gesta said. “I understand Linares is a great fighter, but I know I have the skills, speed, power, and great coaching which will get my hand raised in victory.”
“What a way to kick of 2018 – with two of the top fighters in the sport taking on younger, hungry challengers,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s not often you get two main events on one card, but that is what we will have on Jan. 27 at the “Fabulous” Forum. This card will help keep the momentum that boxing established in 2017.”
“This is a very important fight for Argentine boxing, for Lucas Matthysse and for Arano Box,” said Mario Arano of Arano Boxing. “Matthysse is ready to be a world champion, and we are more than sure that his win will make huge waves throughout the entirety of the Republic of Argentina and South America.”
“Thailand has never had a Welterweight World champion before,” said Taweesin Terry Laosuwanwat, Manager and Promoter of Kiram. “We are making history here, and Tewa [Kiram] will do anything to win this fight. Tewa has never lost before, and he will keep his undefeated record against Matthysse.”
The remainder of the undercard and the ticket information for this stacked event will be announced shortly.
Jose Lopez to Take on Avery Sparrow in New Co-Main Event on November 30th ESPN Show
Super featherweight contender José “Wonder Boy” López (18-1-1, 13 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico will now take on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) in the new co-main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. The event will also feature the headlining debut of Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) as he defends his WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title against Rey “Flash” Pérez (21-8, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event. ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Undercard will stream on ESPN3 at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m.ET/8 p.m. PT.
López, a 23-year-old contender who is coming off a four-fight win streak, has earned two regional titles since making his debut in Sept. 2011. In 2014, Lopez defeated veteran Leivi Brea to win the Interim WBC Fecarbox Super Bantamweight Title via first-round technical knockout. Two years later, López captured the WBO International Super Featherweight Title by defeating Edgar López Sasso via stunning second-round knockout. López was originally scheduled to fight against Miguel “Miguelito” González, but González was forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in his left arm when sparring.
Sparrow, who is also 23-years-old will took to take advantage of his first co-main event opportunity. The Philadelphian is coming off a four-fight win streak, defeating two undefeated prospects in his last two fights.
Fairfield, California’s Manuel “Tino” Ávila (22-1, 8 KOs) will take on Nick Otieno (31-12, 13 KOs) of Nairobi, Kenya in an eight-round featherweight fight. Ávila will return after his only defeat, which was in a tough battle against Joseph Diaz, Jr. on the Canelo vs. Chávez Jr. undercard in May of this year. The featherweight contender is looking to get back into the 126-pound mix before the year ends.
In the night’s swing bout, George Rincón (2-0) of Dallas, Texas will take on Jihad Wise (3-3, 1 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a four-round 140-pound clash. Rincón’s brother, Alex Rincón, was originally scheduled to be in the swing bout, but the welterweight prospect who is currently signed to Golden Boy Promotions was forced to pull out and undergo surgery as he has been diagnosed with appendicitis.
Luther Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) of Alexandria, Virginia will open the night of boxing in a four-round bout in the cruiserweight division against an opponent that will be announced shortly.
Roach, Jr. vs. Pérez is a 10-round super featherweight fight for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.” ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live from MGM National Harbor at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.
Tickets for Roach, Jr. vs Pérez are on sale and are priced at $75 VIP, $75, $55 and $35, not including taxes or fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Ticketmaster Contact Center at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.goldenboytickets.com.
Nico Hernandez Injured, Fight Posptoned
Due to an injury suffered by 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez last week at training camp, this Saturday night’s “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, presented by KO Night Boxing LLC, has been postponed until February 10, at the same venue, Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
The 21-year-old Hernandez was scheduled to headline the event in his hometown against Hungarian flyweight champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight championship.
The promoter plans to keep the card intact, as much as possible, and he is hopeful that Ajtai is available to challenge Hernandez for the IBA Americas title.
“Injuries are an unfortunate part of boxing, but the good news is that Nico will be 100-percent ready to go February 10th,” promoter John Andersen said. “I know that Nico feels that he’s letting everybody down but, at the end of the day, all that really counts is his health. He’s a tough kid who has his entire pro career ahead of him.”
“Over the last six months, Nico has become like family to the Hartman Arena staff,” said Hartman Arena Executive Director, Ben Bolander. “We wish the best for him and hope for a speedy recovery, so we can see him back here in February fighting for the title.”
TIckets to the December 2nd event will still be honored at the February 10 event. If ticket holders, are unable to attend the new event date, full refunds will be offered at the point of purchase. Tickets will remain on sale for the February 10, 2018 event date.
The Progression of Chris Eubank Jr.
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?
PBC on Fox Preview: Santa Cruz vs. Avalos, Mares vs. Gutierrez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) returns to Fox to telecast two bouts in the Fox network in the featherweight division.
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California has been major venue for boxing on the west coast and will be the host site for Saturday’s card. The PBC actually has two televised cards this weekend as they will be showing three junior middleweight title bouts from New York on Showtime after the Fox telecast.
Photo Credit: Erick Ramirez/Ringstar Sports
The following is a preview of the two planned televised bouts on Fox.
Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1) vs. Chris Avalos (27-5); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
Leo Santa Cruz’s only professional loss was a close decision to Carl Frampton, but he was later able to avenge that loss in another close decision.
Santa Cruz will be facing an opponent on Saturday in which he should be a heavy favorite and win convincingly.
He’ll have a slight half an inch height advantage and about an inch in reach. He’s two years older than Avalos, but is still in his athletic prime since he’s only twenty nine years old.
Santa Cruz has been slightly more active than Avalos. He fought once in 2017, twice in 2017, and three times in 2015. Avalos fought once in 2017, once in 2017, and three times in 2015.
Santa Cruz also has a more distinguished amateur background than Avalos. He won the gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and the silver medal in the US National Championships.
Avalos does appear to have a slight edge in power. He has twenty stoppage victories while Santa Curz has eighteen. However, Avalos has gone 2-3 in his past five fights and three of his career losses have been by TKO/KO. His losses were to Mark Magsayo, Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, Jhonatan Romero, and Christopher Martin. Avalos has defeated the likes of Jose Nieves, Khabir Suleymanov, Yenifel Vicente, Drian Francisco, and Miguel Flores.
Santa Cruz’s lone defeat was the Carl Frampton, who he defeated in a rematch. He has also defeated the likes of Kiko Martinez, Abner Marez, Cesar Ceda, Vitor Terrazas, and eric Morel.
All of the physicals and all of the intangibles favor Santa Cruz. It’s difficult to imagine him losing this bout.
Abner Mares (30-2-1) v. Andres Gutierrez (25-1-1); WBA “Regular” Featherweight Title
Abner Mares fought Leo Santa Cruz in 2015 and lost to him. If he’s able to beat Gutierrez on Saturday he’ll likely get a rematch against Santa Cruz.
Mares is thirty one years old and seven years older than Gutierrez. Gutierrez will have about an inch and a half in height and about an inch in reach on Mares. Gutierrez will also have the power advantage. He has stopped 68% of his opponents with 25 KO/TKOs. Mares has stopped 45% of his opponents with 15 KO/TKOs.
Mares has the edge in amateur experience. He was a silver medalist in the World Junior Championships and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for Mexico. Gutierrez has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Mares losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz. He has defeated the likes of Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Eric More, Joseph Agbeko, Anselmo Moreno, and Vic Darchinyan.
Gutierrez professional resume pales in comparison to Mares. Gutierrez has competed mainly in Mexico and lost to a past his prime Cristian Mijares. Gutierrez’s notable wins have come against Wallington Orobio, Daniel Diaz, and Salvador Sanchez.
Gutierrez age and power could give Mares problems, as Mares power has not followed him as he has moved up weight classes. But Mares technical boxing superiority and experience fighting on national television should give him an overall edge to emerge victorious on Saturday.
WBSS Results: Chris Eubank Jr Easily Defeats Avni Yildrim
By: Ste Rowen
Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart was the setting for the second Super Middleweight quarter final of the World Boxing Super Series, as Turkey’s Avni Yildrim took on IBO World Champion, Chris Eubank Jr. Stuttgart is said to be home to around 20,000 Turks, but their number, nor the ferocious atmosphere they created, helped Avni, as the IBO champion dispatched Yildrim in impressive fashion.
From the first bell Yildrim, 16-0-0 heading into the bout, predictably marched forward with his high guard, whilst Eubank Jr stylishly fought off the back foot and went in search of what is seemingly his favorite weapon, the uppercut. Yildrim threw little and connected even less as Eubank fired off the jab and, with his back to the ropes, threw a clean uppercut that forced Yildrim to take a knee giving the Brit an early 10-8 round.
Into the second Yildrim began to throw more but Eubank stayed on top. The Turk was clearly not confident in straying from what he knows and got him into the tournament, as he continued to plod forward. Round three was more of the same until Eubank began to unload and hit Yildrim in the sweet spot with a left hook, which sent Yildrim swinging and to the canvas, forcing the end of the fight.
Eubank Jr, now 26-1-0, moves onto the semifinals to fight either WBA World Champion, George Groves or highly thought of but relatively unknown, Jamie Cox. Eubank’s record is developing nicely and he’s not afraid to fight his own way, displaying slick moves and high-volume punching since his one and only defeat to WBO Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders, but he will know that sterner tests are ahead when he steps in to the ring for the WBSS semi-final, touted for early 2018.