Chris Eubank Jr (25-1) is all set to take on Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (16-0) in Stuttgart this weekend. This will be the latest instalment of the super middleweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series. The victor gets to face off with the winner of next week’s bout between British duo George Groves and Jamie Cox.
Eubank starts as the bookmakers firm favourite, but the hard punching, if somewhat untested, Turk has it in his power to pull off a shock result. One that would disappoint promoters salivating at a potential big draw – all British match up – in the next round.
For good measure, Eubank Jr is putting his laminated IBO title on the line. Making this, at least in theory, a world title match-up.
Chris Eubank Jr vs Avni Yildirim in the World Boxing Super Series quarter-final
Where: Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart, Germany
When: Saturday, 7th October, 7pm UK time
TV: ITV Box Office
With Yildirim’s manager embarrassing both himself and the sport with his antics at yesterday’s press conference, it will be good to put the handbags and the trash talk away and to let the real fighters take centre stage.
Saturday’s bout will mark only the second time in his 26 fight journey that Eubank Jr has fought outside of the UK. The other occasion being early in his career when he travelled to Denmark to stop Lithuanian journeyman Tadas Jonkus in three rounds. His opponent has spent much of his professional career appearing in Germany, and can expect a decent and vocal amount of local support.
Eubank Jr notched up the best win of his career in his last outing, decisively outputting the iron chinned Arthur Abraham in the first defence of his IBO belt. Eubank gave the former three times world champion a tough night’s work as he dominated the proceedings on his way to a unanimous point’s decision. Although, it would not be churlish to point out that this was not entirely the Abraham of old, with time having eroded at least some of the 37-year-olds skills and movement.
However, this win, would rate above most of what appears on Yildirim’s, rather limited record. The Turk, who goes by the unusual ring name of “Mr. Robot” travelled to Mexico to defeat the former title contender, Marco Antonio Periban in his latest appearance, via a comfortable point’s victory.
The most notable win on his CV is probably against the wonderful old Jamaican warhorse Glengoffe Johnson. “Mr. Robot” was able to see off the heavily jaded Johnson over ten rounds, back in 2015. A bout that marked the Jamaicans last professional appearance, and who by that time was carrying 20 defeats on his once proud record.
- This week's heated press conference from Stuttgart. Video iFLTV
The Eubank camp have been vocal in the lead up to the fight that Yildirim’s chin has never been tested. With young Chris, saying he plans to provide it with its most thorough examination to date. There is some truth in this assessment but it is also possible to reverse this consideration and direct it back, like an overhand-right at the Brighton-man.
The imposingly built Turk has fought over half his career at light-heavy, where he had a more than useful knockout record. The obvious caveat being the ambiguous level of opposition. Conversely, Eubank Jr only made the move up from middleweight in February this year, when the unremarkable Australian Renold Quinlan, extended him to 10 of the 12 rounds of their IBO title encounter.
Therefore, if someone is to expose the previously unseen frailties of Yildirim’s chin, it would feel unlikely to be Eubank Jr. Unless the Turk’s record is even more flattering than it appears at first glance, and he proves disappointingly short of international class. The other way to read the tea leaves is that Yildirim will prove able to utilise his extra power and catch the Briton cold.
There are many domestic fight fans that would love to see this outcome come to fruition. With it claimed young Eubank dodges top level home opposition, and his bombast doesn’t dovetail with the carefully selected opponents he has vanquished thus far. He is a polarising figure, with all the flashy and verbose characteristics of his father.
Eubank Sr, had a renowned ring career that sometimes verged on the pantomime. His chief skill was in hiding what was an essentially highly defensive and introverted counter-punching technique, behind an extrovert outside of the ring persona. It was these antics, rather than much of the watchful action in the ring, that propelled him onto the front and back pages. It also helped that the old man was an outstanding boxer and could take one hell of a punch.
It is yet to be seen whether Eubank Jr is cut from the same cloth. He talks the same game but when he stepped up to take on Billy-Joe Saunders; he came off second best. His recent victory over Arthur Abraham is deserving of merit, but difficult to place, based on the potential deterioration of the German.
The bookmakers have Eubank Jr nailed on at 1/7 and it is hard to disagree. With all the above taken into account, the most probable outcome is a victory for the Briton via a wide points margin or late stoppage. Eubank Jr’s condition, speed and athleticism will make it very difficult for Yildirim to pin him down and it may ultimately become a very uncomfortable night for the Turk.
We will learn substantially more about Eubank Jr in the next round where he will probably front up to the experienced and accomplished George Groves.
The largely lacklustre undercard is dominated by super middleweight match ups, with a smattering of heavyweight and cruiser action. High up the card Uruguayan Mauricio Barragan (16-2) gets to play the role of sacrificial lamb, to ancient local hero and former WBA cruiserweight title holder, Firat Arslan (40-8-2).
Britain’s Zach Parker (13-0) will also get to add to his unbeaten record against Matingu Kindele (9-6) in their super middleweight encounter. This follows Parker’s impressive one round stoppage of Luke Blackledge, in a British title eliminator, on the Callum Smith vs Erik Skoglund undercard.
Elsewhere former German Olympic quarter-finalist Stefan Hartel (14-0) takes on the potentially dangerous Ukrainian Viktor Polyakov (13-1-1). With just one inside the distance on the young German’s record, don’t expect too many fireworks.
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