Fighting in the shadow of his successful father is something Chris Eubank Jr has had to accept throughout the early stages of his career. The youngster has had no trouble making a name for himself within the boxing industry, success has always been there for the taking. With 22 professional fights under his belt, Eubank Jr is climbing the ladder his father once conquered but has some way to go.
British boxing took centre stage at the O2 Arena last weekend, as a handful of British hopefuls showed off their potential and entertained a packed house of fight fanatics. Anthony Joshua may have stolen the show as he KO’d Dillian Whyte in the 7th round, but Chris Eubank Jr teed up the main event with an impressive display of work rate against lairy opponent Gary O’Sullivan, who retired after the same round Whyte hit the canvas.
Eubank Jr’s latest victory confirmed his position as mandatory challenger for the WBA Middleweight belt, currently held by Gennady Golovkin. The difference between the two fighters is vast, with a seven-year age gap, an unbeaten record for Golovkin and 12 fewer experiences within the ring making Eubank an overwhelming underdog.
The 26-year-old sustained his only professional defeat late last year, a split decision loss to fellow countryman Billy Joe Saunders. With three fights and another year of construction behind him, a rematch with Saunders would make sense for Jr, giving the Brighton-based fighter a chance to correct is errors on route to making the step up to world level.
Of course, by that time Saunders could be WBO Middleweight Champion, depending on the outcome of his world title fight with Andy Lee this coming weekend. That would only add fuel to the fire for Eubank Jr, giving the son of former two-weight world champion an opportunity within boxing’s highest tier as well as the chance for redemption.
Whether Eubank Jr is ready for success at that level is a question that carries few clear-cut answers. Victory over O’Sullivan last weekend may have been Eubank’s finest showing to date, but the calibre of opponent was questionable following retirement midway through the fight and although Eubank showed signs of improvement, his performance was far from perfection.
Wild swings and backfired showboating were evident in amongst Eubank’s slick movement and impressive stamina throughout. O’Sullivan couldn’t deal with Eubank’s speed and sheer amount of punches thrown per round, however the Irish fighter made life easy for his opponent with his fragile defence and reluctance to throw punches in return.
Eubank Jr was given freedom to pick his shots at ease and despite landing numerous punches throughout the opening seven rounds, rarely did Eubank’s punches seem to cause sufficient damage to his opponent, who half-heartedly ventured around the ring before showing a lack of desire short of the eighth round.
Considering O’Sullivan’s poor effort to engage in battle, Eubank left himself open too many times and should have taken full advantage of his opponent long before his corner threw in the towel. Although there were flashes of brilliance, Eubank’s new trainer Adam Booth has a lot of work on his hands to prepare his fighter for the likes of Golovkin and WBC champion, Saul Alvarez.
Eubank’s biggest asset is his lightning speed and willingness to outwork his opponent. It’s an effective platform to build upon and if Eubank has his sights set on world glory at some point, he must learn to walk before he can run, sharpen blunt areas within his performance and take experience from his past mistakes.