CHRIS EUBANK JR is a late addition to the show at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle on Saturday (October 16). The Roy Jones Jnr-trained middleweight (30-2) meets unknown Wanik Awidjan (28-1) over 10 rounds. Eubank had been scheduled to face Anatoli Muratov two weeks ago before the Board raised concerns about the Kazakh’s medicals. The question isn’t really whether Eubank will beat Awidjan, but rather, how good will he look beating the 26-year-old German? Awidjan, who’s won all 21 fights since a stoppage loss to Kevin Thomas Cojean in 2014, is coming off a split eight-round points win over Iago Kiziria in July. It will be Eubank’s second fight with Jones in his corner following a 10-round points win over Manchester’s Marcus Morrison in May. He may well listen to Jones, though against Morrison it was difficult to detect much difference in Eubank. He went up and down the gears as he pleased. Morrison had his successes when he punched with Eubank – his shots were shorter – and Chris had to give ground in the 10th after shipping a left hook when he went looking for an exclamation-mark finish. Awidjan, who looks vulnerable, is unlikely to make it that far.
The promise is, we will see a new Hughie Fury in the future. As he told Boxing News here, the 27-year-old is preparing to show Sky Sports viewers newfound maturity in his scheduled 10-rounder against Germany’s Christian Hammer. The Fury we have seen for most of his 28-fight career is a long, twitchy back-foot boxer who hasn’t done enough to win the big fights. That was the story of his 2017 points loss to Joseph Parker in Manchester and the 2019 defeat to Alexander Povetkin.
In between, against Kubrat Pulev, Fury was cut early, emptied his tank going for the finish and the Bulgarian pulled away in the last four rounds. Fury was also cut – also his left eye – against Povetkin in the eighth round and it was the Russian’s strong finish that got him home on the scorecards.
Fury has boxed twice since and the signs are he is looking to be more positive. The vulnerable Czech Pavel Sour was beaten inside three rounds and, last time out, Fury set out to stop Polish veteran Mariusz Wach in December.
Fury smothered his work at times and picked up a bad cut under his left eyebrow following an accidental clash of heads. The doctor looked at the wound in the sixth and that led to a rethink. Fury gave himself some room and found a smooth rhythm.
Fury kept up a high workrate and had Wach on wobbly legs at the final bell.
Povetkin and Wach are common opponents. The results suggest Fury and Hammer are at a similar level – and Hammer has heavier hands. Povetkin outpointed both, but while Fury outpointed Wach, Hammer stopped him, in six rounds in 2016.
Hammer may find Fury harder to get to. He has three-and-a half inches in height over the 6ft 2½ins tall German and seeing Peter Fury in the opposite corner won’t do much for Hammer’s confidence.
Peter was with Tyson Fury – his nephew and Hughie’s cousin – when he handed Hammer the worst defeat of his 26-7 career in February, 2015. Down in the fifth, Hammer pulled out after eight.
Hammer comes to the North East with two losses in his last four, spread over two-and-a-half years. The losses were on points against Luis Ortiz and Tony Yoka, and Fury can do the same in their 12-rounder.
Savannah Marshall should be a safe bet for a home victory when she takes on Zambia’s Lolita Muzeya, unbeaten in 16.
The Peter Fury-trained Marshall had too much for Hannah Rankin when they met 12 months ago and that was followed by a rather facile blowout. Femke Hermans was forced to pull out and 44-year-old Maria Lindberg stepped in. Marshall dropped her twice with rights for a third-round win.
That was Marshall’s sixth straight inside-the-distance win and Muzeya also has a puncher’s reputation. Five of her 16 wins have come inside two rounds, but she has been boxing around 147lbs and has only had 118 seconds of ring time since October 2018.
There is a name on Muzeya’s record that is familiar to British fans. She has three wins (one early) over Anisha Basheel, who went on to beat Sam Smith but lose to Chantelle Cameron.
Muzeya is polished, but still, it’s hard to see her lasting more than a few rounds with Marshall.
Lewis Ritson, was due to box Hank Lundy in what would have been the best fight on the card, but has withdrawn.