TONIGHT (Saturday February 17) at Manchester Arena, the highly anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-final between WBA super-middleweight king George Groves and challenger Chris Eubank Jr takes place. Ahead of the mouth-watering British superfight, we take a look at five revealing moments from Eubank’s career so far.
November 29, 2014 – Coming on strong against Saunders
Fighting Billy Joe Saunders for the British, Commonwealth and European middleweight titles represented a huge leap up in class for Eubank. A slow start eventually proved costly, as he lost via split decision, but his strong finish meant that he pushed Saunders extremely hard in the second half of the contest. He may have lost, but Eubank nonetheless proved that his Spartan-like fitness and stamina make him a dangerous foe in the latter stages of fights.
June 25, 2016 – Destroying Doran
Just three months after seriously injuring Nick Blackwell during their clash, Eubank demonstrated his intensely focused and single-minded nature by stepping back into the ring. Putting the Blackwell tragedy to one side, Eubank dropped Tom Doran four times en route to a fourth-frame stoppage win – successfully defending the British middleweight belt that he won from Blackwell. The destructive manner of the victory over Doran proved that Eubank had not lost any of his ruthless aggression following the Blackwell incident.
February 4, 2017 – Moving up to super-middleweight
Considering Eubank was not a particularly big middleweight, his decision to move up in weight to super-middle raised eyebrows. He got the job done in his first outing at the weight – against the tough but outgunned Renold Quinlan – yet the 10th-round stoppage came via a sustained beating, rather than a one-punch blowout. As one-sided as the victory was, it did little to quell those who questioned Eubank’s power at 168lbs.
October 7, 2017 – Starching Yildirim
In sensationally wiping out the vaunted Avni Yildirim in just three rounds, Eubank stuck the proverbial middle finger up to those who doubted his punch-power as a super-middleweight. The emphatic WBSS quarter-final triumph also highlighted Eubank’s ability to successfully deal with hostile atmospheres, as the fight took place on away turf in Stuttgart, Germany, in front of Yildirim’s baying fans.
Present day – Betting favourite against Groves
On paper, Groves has most of the advantages in his bout with Eubank, including size, power, jab, amateur pedigree, experience, tactical variety and body-punching. However, despite all this, it is Eubank – not the defending champion Groves – who is the favourite with the bookmakers. Eubank’s steely determination, limitless confidence and enticing mystique has engendered an aura of invincibility. The fact that he has been able to induce this opinion of him in people is all the more impressive when you consider that he already has a defeat on his record.