Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Eubank Jnr keen to fight “drug cheat” Saunders, Derevyanchenko fears he will be ignored by Alvarez and Golovkin

Chris Eubank Jr
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Chris Eubank Jnr says Billy Joe Saunders shouldn't hold a world title but will happily take it from him, and Sergiy Derevyanchenko plays the waiting game

CHRIS Eubank Jnr says without him Billy Joe Saunders is a “nobody” and would like to fight the new WBO super-middleweight champion for a second time in the near future.

Eubank Jnr and Saunders first met in 2015 and it was Saunders who capitalised on his opponent’s inexperience and rough edges to take a 12-round decision. Now, almost four years on, both hold spurious versions of world titles and, like a divorced couple, are still mentioning each other but claiming they’re over it.

“It’s funny. I haven’t thought about the guy for years really,” Eubank told Starsport.

“If we’re talking about who’s thinking about who, without me he’s really nobody. Nobody would know his name if it wasn’t for me and our fight.

“The fact he got a decision over me, that’s what made him known as a fighter and that’s all he really clings onto.”

Since their first meeting in 2015, Saunders has defeated David Lemieux in fine style, fallen foul of drug testers, lost his WBO middleweight title, and ventured to the 168-pound division to claim a WBO strap there. Regrettably, he has been in the headlines more for questionable antics outside the ring than stellar performances inside it.

“He’s not a likeable guy,” said Eubank Jnr. “He’s done a lot of bad things. He’s a drug cheat, he’s been taken to court, there are these viral videos of him taking advantage of vulnerable people. He’s a bad guy and he’s paid the price for it.

“I want the rematch to happen now that he’s got the belt – a belt that I don’t feel he deserved.

“He is a drug cheat, so for him to be able to fight for a world title in his second fight back is disgraceful in my opinion.

“But he’s got the belt, so that means he’s back on the radar for me. If that fight can be made, I’m all for it.”

If it were to ever be made, a WBO and IBO ‘unification’ fight between Chris Eubank Jnr and Billy Joe Saunders might just be the very worst of its kind, which, of course, is saying something. The actual fight, however, is one that should, in an ideal world, happen at some stage next year.

Billy Joe Saunders
Saunders lost his WBO middleweight title in 2018 (Action Images/Reuters/Adam Holt)

Though next in line to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the IBF middleweight title, Sergiy Derevyanchenko expects to be ignored by the Mexican in favour of bigger and better fights.

Last week the IBF informed Alvarez he would have to defend his belt against the Ukrainian if he intended to keep hold of it, yet, with mooted fights against the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Callum Smith and Demetrius Andrade providing distractions, it’s hard to see Alvarez going through with this plan.

If he decides not to, it’s likely Derevyanchenko would then have to meet Gennady Golovkin to get his hands on the IBF crown. But even that fight is one Derevyanchenko isn’t hopeful of happening.

“I expect Alvarez to avoid me and not give me a chance despite the IBF’s decision,” said Derevyanchenko.

“(Gennady) Golovkin comes next on the IBF list. I can’t wait to find out what decision he will make. Is he going to refuse the fight again, even if he is not to fight with Alvarez in September?”

Last year Derevyanchenko was due to fight Golovkin in a similar situation but the fearsome Kazakh thought better of it and turned his attention elsewhere. After that, Derevyanchenko lost an IBF middleweight title fight against American Daniel Jacobs, then responded with a decision win over Jack Culcay in April.

Canelo Alvarez has made a habit of collecting belts

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