The Eubank’s are without doubt the most polarising family in the history of British boxing. Chris Eubank Snr was one of the more eccentric and entertaining men to ever enter a professional ring, but his overt style outside of the ropes irritated many. With the help of his famed granite chin he became a two-weight world champion and was involved in some of the most famous contests on British soil. His son, Chris Eubank Jnr, may possess more talent and with the guidance of his father he has seemed to be destined for great things since the beginning of his career.
Eubank Jnr’s current record stands at 26-1 with 20 knockouts with his only defeat coming to the undefeated middleweight champion of the world Billy Joe Saunders in 2014. Former Olympian Saunders – who was the more experienced fighter – won by a razor close split decision. Eubank came to the ring with a record of 18-0 against lesser opponents and many speculated that he was out of his depth for his first professional title fight. He lost the first six rounds through inactivity before turning it on for the final six rounds. Although one judge gave him the decision, two other judges favoured Saunders. If Eubank had fought at a steady pace throughout the night, he would have won the fight.
Since then Eubank has learned a great deal as he rebuilt his career. Knocking out Dmitry Chudinov, Tony Jeter, Gary O’Sullivan, Nick Blackwell, Tom Doran and Renold Quinlan to become WBA interim middleweight champion, British middleweight champion and IBO super middleweight world champion. Chudniov, O’Sullivan and Blackwell were all solid prospects highly motivated for the job, but Eubank Jnr overwhelmed them with his ability. He then dismantled the ageing but widely regarded Arthur Abraham, winning a twelve round unanimous decision. Abraham, who is famed for his excellent chin and tight defence, was a three time world champion in two weight classes.
On Saturday October 7, Eubank Jnr made a statement in the super middleweight division by destroying undefeated Avni Yildirim inside three rounds away from home in a hostile environment. Yildirim had a reputation as a good prospect after handling himself well in sparring against James DeGale and beating Marco Antonio Periban, but Eubank Jnr made light work of him to retain his IBO title. Many will question Yilidirim’s credentials, however either way Eubank Jnr was head and shoulders above him.
So just how good is he?
From what I’ve seen so far Eubank Jnr hasn’t really been tested. He has knocked out most fighters he has faced even as the level of competition has stepped up and the one loss on his record should be marked with an asterisk due to his bewildering tactic of choosing to be inactive.
This World Boxing Super Series tournament should allow him to emerge as one of Britain’s top fighters. It is likely he will fight WBA (super) world champion George Groves next and if he wins; it is likely he will face highly rated Callum Smith after that. Wins against both fighters would leave James DeGale two options; face Eubank Jnr or vacate his title and move up to light heavyweight. I suspect he would do the latter as Eubank Jnr’s accounts of sparring between the two had him coming out on top.
In 2015, videos emerged of Eubank Jnr sparring with British boxing legend Carl Froch. Eubank was just a prospect back then and Froch admitted the sessions had been very competitive and he was sure that Eubank would one day be a world champion. Eubank later revealed that he had sparred with an injury to his left hand.
What amazes me most about Eubank Jnr is his speed and combination punches. It’s clear he has enough knockout power, but when he’s fully motivated, he throws punches like few other people on the planet. The main issue however is that he looks to load up in his combinations and has a style that could probably be beaten with a stiff jab. Groves possesses one of the best jabs in the business so if they fight each other it could be a perfect measuring stick for Eubank’s career.
Eubank has the skill set to overwhelm most fighters and outwork them with fast flashy combinations, but there are doubts about his ability to box. Personally, I like his style and think a fight with Groves would be very exciting. Better opposition, such as Groves, wouldn’t allow Eubank to initiate the fight or throw multiple combinations without answer – this could cause him problems as he is often open for a counter punch when he throws multiple punches.
If Eubank throws punches and works throughout the round, his speed, combination punches and solid chin should allow him to win rounds against top opposition by simply outworking them. However, Eubank has a habit of being inactive during rounds and even going missing for whole rounds at a time. The main thing that will hold him back is himself. I can see how he would beat fighters like Groves, DeGale and Gilberto Ramirez, but if any of those fighters can withstand a Eubank storm, they could box their way to victory.
Chris Eubank Jnr will gain a major world title in his career and I see him doing so at two weight classes. I don’t see him breaking into the top pound-for-pound fighters list soon, but he has the talent to do so if he can find the right style.
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