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Golovkin? Saunders? Benn… What Chris Eubank Jr wants next

Chris Eubank Jr
Lawrence Lustig
'I’d never bitten anybody in the ring before.' Eubank Junior reacts to the Liam Williams fight and considers what he wants next

CHRIS EUBANK JR was an unquestionably clear winner when he dropped Liam Williams four times en route to his decision victory at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on Saturday (February 5).

But he was unimpressed with the rough tactics Williams employed in the middle stages of the fight. “I’d like to see the stats on the head butts and chokes that connected,” Eubank said afterwards. “We knew he was going to come dirty. We knew he was going to try everything he could to take the fight to me, whether it was in or out of the rules of boxing. But we dealt with it. I don’t complain. I’m upset that the referee didn’t take a point, at least one during that fight for the amount of headlocks and head butts and everything else that was going on. He was pushing his hand up into my face. I had to actually bite him at one point. I’d never bitten anybody in the ring before. I bit him. He put his arm around my neck and was squeezing my neck and his glove was kind of close to my mouth. So I gave it a bite as hard as could. If he’s going to fight dirty, I’m going to fight dirty. It is what it is. But it was a fun fight.”

Eubank’s own performance was mixed, at times he looked devastating, in other moments he was wild, clumsy even. When he injured his left hand he eased up the pressure on Williams, before then finishing the fight strongly.

He insisted, “I’m so sick of people saying, ‘Oh, he doesn’t have a jab, he doesn’t have any foot movement, he doesn’t have any defence.’ Let me show these guys something. Let me show a different side. Let me work on the things that me and Roy [Jones, his trainer] have been practising for all this time. That’s what I did.”

Chris Eubank Jr
Lawrence Lustig

Moving on, Eubank intends to box at least three times overall this year. The path at middleweight however is not currently clear. “In a perfect world, it’s a world title shot against Gennady Golovkin next fight. But that’s easier said than done. I understand that. It’s about chasing those championship fights or chasing a big name that the fans can really get behind,” Eubank said. “My last previous two [fights], they didn’t captivate the public’s attention like this one did and like we will make the future fights do in the summer and the winter.”

Golovkin was due to box Ryota Murata in Japan in December. But the Covid situation forced that to be rescheduled. “It’s a changing scene unfortunately, half-Covid led, with the postponement of the fight that was due to take place. They’re contracted to fight each other. The question is: does that now take place? It’s supposed to take place in April. We certainly won’t be waiting round. If that takes place in April that will not be his next fight. We look at the situation with [WBO belt-holder Demetrius] Andrade moving up,” said Kalle Sauerland of Wasserman Boxing, Eubank’s promoter. “Titles are important. For me as a promoter we like big fights. There are some very interesting names out there. This year is about winning a world championship but it’s also about being realistic on a time plan and that time plan we’ll sit down and discuss first and foremost with Chris and Roy.”

That’s not to rule out fighting Golovkin the near future. “There was a small bite last night [from Golovkin’s side saying] it was a cheap attempt. Now if the offer of boxing at Wembley Stadium on Sky Box Office is a cheap attempt, I’d like to see the expensive one. And I can assure you that we at Wasserman are very well funded to put a massive guarantee behind this fight for them. So if that’s an issue, if it’s the money, which I don’t believe it is, I don’t believe it is, because let’s be honest there’s not many names or fights on that scale.

“Wembley stadium, tick that box, that’s a big box to tick, even for a legend like Golovkin.”

With his profile, even if the Golovkin fight is indeed some way off, Eubank will have options. Ben Shalom of Boxxer, Sky Sports’ promotional partner, revealed that Billy Joe Saunders, who beat Eubank in a memorable 2014 encounter, has been in touch looking to make that rematch. “I don’t think much of him [Saunders] at all as I’m sure you guys know. But is it a fight that I would take? Yes. The fight has everything. It has a story, it has two top tier fighters that don’t like each other, who doesn’t want to see that fight? He doesn’t have anything to offer but the defeat, [which] he was gifted all those years ago. If the offer’s there and if it’s the right time and the right place and the business makes sense, then let’s do it,” Eubank said.

If a ready-made narrative is needed, Conor Benn has floated an unlikely suggestion – that he move up to box Eubank Junior at a catchweight. “It’s fight that if it were to happen, it would be massive. Crazy. But what fan wouldn’t want to see it? It’s two legends [with] their sons fighting each other. We’re both doing big things in the boxing world,” Chris mused. “It doesn’t make any sense for right now… In a couple of years, Conor Benn fills out a little bit and I want to have a bit of fun, we can get it on. But not right now.”

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