Degale "Delighted" to be on Jack vs Bute double header
NEW YORK (March 28, 2016)- A three-fight series to crown a unified divisional champion will begin on Saturday, April 30, when WBC 168-pound champion Badou Jack defends his title against former longtime titlist Lucian Bute, and IBF Champion James DeGale risks his belt against mandated challenger Rogelio Medina in a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from the DC Armory in Washington D.C.
The winners will meet in a super middleweight world-title unification fight later this year.
Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) will make his second title defense after a breakthrough 2015 campaign in which he won the WBC belt from Anthony Dirrell and successfully defended against George Groves. The southpaw Bute (32-3, 25 KOs), a former IBF champion with nine defenses between 2007 and 2012, revived his career last November with a gutsy and inspired performance against DeGale.
"I've been training really hard for this fight and I'm excited to get in the ring," said Jack. "I can't wait to defend my title once again on April 30. The fans can expect to see an explosive and skillful performance from me come fight night. I believe I'm the best super middleweight in the world and that I have the skills to beat anyone I get in the ring with. I'm fully focused on Lucian Bute, but I know that a win can set up a massive fight against James DeGale and I'm going to deliver."
"I'm thrilled to have this tremendous opportunity," said Bute. "I was ringside for Badou Jack's last two fights -- well deserved world title wins. He is a great champion. I plan to train hard and be in the best shape of my career on April 30. It's my chance to win the WBC belt and become two-time world champion. I will win and give boxing fans a spectacular fight."
DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) will make his second title defense after an impressive 2015 in which he defeated Andre Dirrell to win the vacant IBF belt and topped Bute in a Fight of the Year candidate. The hard-hitting Medina (35-6, 29 KOs), the IBF's mandatory challenger, has knocked out three consecutive opponents.
"I am delighted to be defending my world title on another great show in the United States," said DeGale. "I won my belt in style in Boston and I'm looking forward to moving down the East Coast to the great city of Washington, D.C. It's going to be a defining night in the super middleweight division as Badou Jack and myself look to set up a huge fight later in the year. I'm fully focused on Rogelio Medina. He's a tough Mexican who earned his title shot. But trust me, no one is getting my world title."
"This is such a great opportunity for me and I can't wait to get in the ring," said Medina. "I've worked so hard for this and I am going to make the most of it. Everyone who has seen me fight knows I leave it all in the ring and you can expect to see an all-out battle on April 30. I will be the new world champion."
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Interbox in association with Matchroom Boxing, are priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster locations, or call (800) 745-3000.
"Mayweather Promotions is proud to bring another exciting night of boxing to the great boxing fans in my hometown of Washington, D.C.," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "I'm really excited about the Badou Jack vs. Lucian Bute fight. It's going to be a great fight. We know Bute is tough as nails and he's coming to take the title away from Badou. Badou is going to have to be at his best to be able to beat Bute that night. The winner of that fight will set up a spectacular unification fight with the winner of the fight between British champion James DeGale and Mexican brawler 'Porky' Medina. DeGale can't take Medina lightly if he wants the unification bout. It's going to be a thrilling night of action at the DC Armory and on SHOWTIME."
Badou Jack "The Ripper", of Las Vegas by way of Stockholm, Sweden, captured the WBC 168-pound crown with a 12-round majority decision over previously unbeaten defending champion Anthony Dirrelllast April 24. A former amateur standout who represented Gambia in the 2008 Olympics, Jack retained his belt against former world title challenger George Groves last Sept. 12 on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather's final fight. Jack, who fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner, was an underdog against both Dirrell and Groves. The 6-foot-1, 32-year-old has won four in a row since a shocking first-round knockout loss to Derek Edwards in February 2014.
Bute, of Montreal, Canada by way of Romania, has been a super middleweight mainstay for the last decade. He has competed in 12 title fights since 2007, scoring seven knockouts in nine consecutive defenses of the IBF belt he won in 2007 in his adopted hometown of Montreal. During his title reign, the 36-year-old defeated the likes of Glen Johnson, Librado Andrade and Jean-Paul Mendy, but he lost the belt to Carl Froch in 2012 and a string of injuries kept him largely inactive over the next three years. Bute returned from a 19-month absence in August 2015 under new trainer Howard Grant, knocking out Andrea Di Luisa to set up the title shot against DeGale for the crown he once held. Bute stalked the switch-hitting DeGale with a relentless attack, turning in his most impressive performance in years in a close decision loss.
James "Chunky" DeGale, of London, England, won the vacant IBF belt in his U.S. debut last May by dropping Andre Dirrell twice on his way to a unanimous decision. The 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist then successfully defended it last November in a thrilling shootout with hometown favorite and former titlist Lucian Bute. The 30-year-old, who's only blemish came in a majority decision in his 11th bout against then-unbeaten George Groves, will make his third consecutive start outside his native England as he looks to become a global power at 168 pounds.
Rogelio "Porky" Medina is a hard-hitting veteran with 30 knockouts in his 36 career wins. He's knocked out three consecutive opponents, including a shocking third-round knockout of then-undefeated J'Leon Love in August, 2014. Medina, 27, has suffered six losses in 42 fights, although those defeats came against opponents with a combined record of 187-16-3, including four previously undefeated fighters.
Sugar Shane Mosley’s next fight announced: interim world title v UK-based Russian, David Avanesyan
After a string of may be, could be and should be stories purporting to name ring legend ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley’s next opponent, the 44-year old former pound for pound great has signed to face UK-based Russian, David Avanesyan, for the latter’s interim WBA world welterweight title at the Gila River Arena, in Glendale, Arizona, on 28 May.
In a glittering 22-year ring career, the former three-weight world champion has fought and defeated some of the most recognizable names in the sport and, against the talented but largely unknown Avanesyan, who won the title courtesy of a ninth round stoppage over Venezuela’s Charlie Navarro in Monaco in November last year, he gets his 23d world ‘title’ fight in 59 contests knowing that a win will propel him to the giddy heights he once occupied with such assuredness.
The contest is a coup for Avanesyan’s manager and promoter, Neil Marsh, who has secured Mosley for what is a significant step up in class for his Russian charge. Marsh said: “David has only been with me for 10 months but, in that time, we’ve managed to get him from fringe rankings to no. 1 in the WBA. His last win really took him to the next level and, against Shane, we’re very confident he can continue his momentum.
“The winner of this fight should really be in the mix with some of the biggest names at, and around, welterweight – [Brandon] Rios, [Lamont] Peterson, [Danny] Garcia, [Shawn] Porter, [Timothy] Bradley, even Kell Brook and Amir Khan but Keith Thurman is a likely next fight as he holds the WBA regular title. It really is that big – for David it’s a chance to get amongst fighters of that calibre and have a really good go at them and, for Shane, it’s a chance for him to get back to the level he was once at. He’s a great boxer, a true legend of the sport, and, such is the esteem he is held, a win would get him another world title chance against any of those fighters no problem.”
Should he win Avanesyan, a pro since 2009 and who has accumulated a ledger of 21 wins from 23 contests (one draw) in that time, will also gain some much needed exposure as the contest is also likely to be aired free on terrestrial TV in the US.
Speaking on how the fight came about, Marsh revealed that he had been in discussions with Mosley and his team for a while after meeting the LA native at his last fight in Panama.
He said: “I’m obviously delighted at securing Shane for this fight as we knew plenty of promoters were keen to sign him but I met him and saw his last contest in Panama just before Christmas
“We talked about the possibility of the fight and, with David having the interim title, it was something that Shane was immediately interested in.”
Marsh revealed that he flew to Panama to not only witness Mosley’s fight – a tenth round stoppage win over Venezuela’s Patrick Lopez, but also to meet the ring legend in person to discuss a meeting with Avanesyan and get negotiations under way.
He said: “We’ve been working on the contract for a couple of months and Shane finally signed last week. Sometimes what goes on in the background to secure top fights like this can be a bit frustrating but Shane and his team have been superb all the way through, a pleasure to work with, and David, Carl [Greaves], me and all the team are really looking forward to going to California in May.”
Trained in Newark, Lincolnshire, by Carl Greaves, Avanesyan is equally, and understandably, delighted at facing one of his boxing heroes in the ring. He said: “When I first heard that Neil was talking [to Shane] about the fight I couldn’t believe it. He is one of the all-time greats [and] even to meet him would be an honour [let alone] face him in the ring in defence of my belt. I am already in training and looking forward to going to America to meet him. Hopefully I can retain my belt and meet some of the other top fighters in the world there soon.”
For trainer Carl Greaves, the contest is another chance to work with the boxer, and manager, he is fast coming to see as the real deal.
He said: “I’ve had David since September 2015, before the Navarro bout, and in that time he’s really improved as a fighter. He’s unbelievably dedicated, works hard and does exactly what we want, in the ring and out. I’d give him a great chance against any of the top names at welter. Credit to Neil for securing the fight against Mosley. What a chance for a British-based fighter. We knew there was lots of interest from other promoters trying to get Mosley for their fighters. If you could ask for a match for a fighter trying to make his name in and around the division then this is the one. Neil has really pulled it off here and a win for David would really open doors for him in the States.”
Speaking from the offices of his promotional company, GoBox, in California last week, Mosley said: “I’m really looking forward to the fight. I’ve seen tapes of David and he’s a good fighter. He works hard and is very strong.”
Confirming that negotiations had been ongoing since Marsh saw him fight in December, the man who has faced the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Winky Wright, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, Saul Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather also revealed he is being trained by another boxing legend, Roberto Duran, for a fight he sees as a major one for both himself and Avanesyan.
He said: “I’ve been working in the gym but proper training, with Roberto, who I met in Panama, will start soon. The winner of this fight will be at the very top, with some big fights in America in the future. I can’t wait to take care of business.”
Shane Mosley v David Avanesyan for the interim WBA world welterweight title will take place at the Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona, on 28 May.
Preview: Can Underdog Blackwell Bang out Eubank Jr after “Bland” slur?
By Michael J Jones
THERE SURELY in British boxing cannot be two more different fighters than British middleweight champion Nick Blackwell and Saturday’s challenger Chris Eubank Jr. The two men meet at the Wembley Arena in what promises to be an exciting battle between two talented, hard-hitting young fighters.
While Eubank Jr started his pro career on live TV against carefully-selected opposition, Blackwell has often been thrown to the lions turning pro after a short stint on the unlicensed circuit. The Trowbridge puncher faced the vastly more experienced Martin Murray in just his ninth fight and has also shared a ring with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and the dangerous Sergey Khomitsky.
It is testament to Blackwell’s grit he has come through the above tests to emerge as the fighter he is today. Now trained by former pro Gary Lockett in Wales, Blackwell has hit top form in the last year and has improved vastly, acquiring some finesse to go with his undoubted toughness and determination.
He was once more the underdog when facing John Ryder last May for the British title vacated by Billy Joe Saunders. Under fierce pressure early on, Blackwell turned the fight around in the seventh with some huge shots to be crowned the new champion.
Blackwell has since followed up with fine victories over unbeaten Damon Jones and a points decision over late-sub’ Jack Arnfield. At 19-3-1 (8) the British ruler is fearless, has improving skills and hits harder than his record indicates. He is a proud champion and will not go down without a fight.
Eubank Jr has continued to divide opinion since his debut nearly five years ago and it still feels to most fans that he has still to prove he is the real deal. After cutting through an array of lower-level opposition early in his career, Eubank Jr was pitted against Billy Joe Saunders in November 2014 with the British, Commonwealth and European titles on the line.
Saunders, now the WBO world champion, thoroughly out-boxed the slow-starting challenger early on but appeared to tire. The Brighton man finished strongly but Saunders would win a fully-deserved split vote to remain undefeated. The beaten man often claims he was robbed but few outside his team agree with that notion.
Since his sole defeat the well-managed 26 year old has won all three bouts inside schedule against decent opposition. Just three months after losing to Saunders, Junior returned to stop Dmitry Chudinov in the last to claim the WBA Interim middleweight belt.
He defended that title with an early KO of out-gunned American Tony Jeter before stopping tough Irishman Gary O’ Sullivan in his last bout in December. O’Sullivan had talked a good fight beforehand but had no answer to Eubank’s hand-speed and combination punching before being retired after seven one-sided rounds.
The win lifted Chris Jr’s record to 21-1 (16) and despite the often negative press, he is certainly a talented, well-conditioned boxer with very fast hands. He has branded Blackwell “Bland” ahead of tomorrow’s contest and has even suggested his opponent is tarnishing the respect of the Lonsdale belt by holding it.
Blackwell lashed back at Eubank Jr’s arrogance and branded him as a fake who has never fought anyone. We thus have a grudge match with almost certainly guaranteed fireworks while the contest lasts. As the two are also former sparring partners, there should also be little ‘feeling out’ when the bout starts.
While the younger version of Blackwell would have waded in face-first, this more-savvy version will have a carefully-devised game-plan under coach Lockett. Eubank Jr has a high work-rate and fast hands so the champion needs to close the gap fast and make every punch count. The Blackwell jab will have to be sharp and busy to offset Eubank’s work-rate.
Jr will know he can pick-off Blackwell at range and bust him up if the challenger can avoid any early catastrophe. Nick has to keep his hands high, be patient and don’t fight with his heart when things go against him early on. He showed a tremendous courage under fire against Ryder but Eubank is arguably a more difficult proposition.
Both are durable and tough and usually in excellent shape so the fight looks sure to go into the later rounds. Both have navigated twelve rounds though Eubank Jr has only completed the full route once (although he would have comfortably if he hadn’t have stopped Chudinov when he did).
It’s a good fight and not easy to pick the winner but I just see the superior hand-speed of Eubank Jr tipping the balance. Blackwell will have his moments and has the power to hurt his challenger but ultimately I lean towards the challenger to take a hard-fought points decision.
Pick of the undercard is the cross-roads heavyweight twelve-rounder between Hughie Fury and Texan veteran Dominick Guinn. Fury, still only 21-years-old, has made no secret of his frustration of failing to nail down a top-ten opponent. Guinn, who has taken the fight at short notice, doesn’t fall into that category but is still a decent test.
Almost twice as old as Fury at 40, Guinn hasn’t been active much in recent years but will be dangerous as he’s experienced, durable and can still punch. It was way back in 2003 that Guinn emerged as an exciting heavyweight prospect after a punch-perfect knock-out of Michael Grant.
Alas, after a series of losses the talented but lacklustre heavyweight evolved into a decent trial horse/gatekeeper of the division. He has scored the occasional upset but mostly tends to get outscored by busier, more ambitious opponents.
Hughie, 18-0 (10), has lost a step in his assault up the heavyweight ranks (through no fault of his own) and needs to impress. Fury is younger, taller and far fresher than Guinn and can win a wide points decision which could have a scare or two along the way.
The bout will be for the WBC International title. Guinn has never been stopped in 46 fights so it would be quite a statement if the 6’6” Fury were to gain an inside victory.
The one and only time Guinn has boxed someone from these shores was ten years ago when he out-scored Audley Harrison in California.
Also on the good bill, heavyweight puncher Nick Webb, popular super-middleweight Frank Buglioni and the returning Ricky Boylan.
Action is live and exclusive on Channel Five from 21:40 this Saturday March 26.
Farnell wishes Butler all the best
Anthony Farnell has wished Paul Butler well after the pair unexpectedly split earlier today. The pair enjoyed great success during their time together at Arnie's Gym in Manchester and raced through British, Commonwealth and a plethora of international titles before reaching the summit of the sport by beating Stuart Hall for the IBF bantamweight title. Ellesmere Port's Butler,27, was stopped by sensational South African, Zolani Tete, in a bid for the IBF super flyweight belt last March but has since rebounded with four stoppage victories.
"Me and Paul have had some great years together. I put my heart and soul into training Paul and couldn't have done any more," Farnell told Livefight. "Paul has to do what is best for his career. If he feels he'll now be better off somewhere else, he has to do that. I wish him all the best and I'll support him for the rest of his career.
"It has come out of the blue but life goes on. Paul's a top lad and we got to the top together."
Etches aims to return with a bang after horrendous 2015
It has been a year he would rather forget, but for Adam Etches it is a case of whatever is thrown at him makes the Sheffield star stronger.
The Sheffield ‘Bomber’ has three reasons not to be cheerful. He lost his unbeaten record in 2015, endured a horrendous injury towards the end of the year and his beloved grandfather passed away.
If Etches thought that was about as tough as it gets, 2016 hasn’t exactly started as he intended either, as his opponent on the undercard of Kell Brook’s world title clash with Kevin Bizier in Sheffield on Saturday has pulled out of their fight.
Etches said: “I was coming back after a horrendous injury against a decent kid in Jefferson Luiz De Sousa, but he posted a picture of himself on Twitter in hospital so my manager Richard Poxon has been moving heaven and earth to get me another opponent, which thankfully he has.
“I’m not getting down though, far from it. I just keep smiling through it all, sure in the knowledge that one day my time will come. I’m determined to get back in the ring, show the Sheffield fans who have supported me throughout my career exactly what I can do and get back into the mix for the British title, then the world. I’ve always had a dream of becoming world middleweight champion and despite what has happened, nothing has changed.”
After losing for the first time as a pro when stopped by Sergey Khomitsky 12 months ago, middleweight Etches will return on Saturday against Hungarian Zoltan Sera, a highly respected 30-year-old who has been beaten only seven times in 29 contests.
“The loss to Khomitsky was hard to take but I know I have learnt from it. Basically I have had a lot of things thrown at me, but I am determined to overcome them and get back to winning ways again. I was very proud of my unbeaten record but it has gone now and there is no point dwelling on it. I have dusted myself down and now I’d ready to go.”
After halting previously unbeaten Victor Rosales in July, Etches was set for another clash in Monte Carlo in November, only for that to be cancelled when a growth, a golf ball-sized cyst, was found in his leg.
“I had been training hard and for some reason I was out of breath a lot and feeling sick,” said 25-year-old Etches. “It was then that I realised I had the injury. Horrible it was, absolutely awful, but again, I’m over it now.
“Then my grandfather passed away last year as well. He was very much my mentor and I miss him every day, but what would have made him really proud was seeing me back in the ring, refusing to give in and one day with a world title belt around my waist. He was a massive supporter of mine and I’d love to do it for everyone who has followed me, especially him.
“Overall, things have happened which have been tough to take, but that’s what life is all about isn’t it? You have to take the rough and the smooth and fight back.
“I want to get another win under my belt, fight again in May and get a British title shot as soon as possible. There are some great fights out there for me at middleweight and I’m going to keep banging them out until I get a shot.”
Knockouts, knockdowns and World War 3. VIP Boxing Ringside Report
“Gong and dash” might not be as well known a combat sport tactic as “Rope-a-dope” or ‘“hit and don’t be hit” but it made a rare appearance on last nights VIP Boxing show in Manchester. Mixed Martial Arts fighter, James ‘The Colossus’ Thompson, introduced the world to the strategy during his entertaining - if not ultimately successful - run in Japan during the glory days of the Pride Fighting Championships. The idea - in it’s simplest form - is to charge out of your corner at the sound of the opening bell and attempt to make up for a lack of skill and technique by using your sheer size and aggression to overwhelm your opponent.
Eric Mokonzo, it seems, has been studying Thompson’s highlight reel. The Congolese born light heavyweight’s initial charge at Bentham’s Tomi Tatham might have drawn a collective “Whoaaaah” from the packed crowd at the Victoria Warehouse but the only reaction it drew from Tatham was a countering right hand that floored him heavily. From that point on, madness ensued. Clearly the better boxer, Tatham was forced to battle through a tremendous onslaught as Mokonzo simply refused to relent. As the rounds wore on, Tatham grew accustomed to Mokonzo’s power and began to land increasingly damaging shots himself. Mokonzo was floored heavily with body shots during a tumultuous fifth round but somehow righted himself both times. Ultimately, though, Tatham was too schooled for the brave African and, after a sustained barrage, the fight was halted.
‘TNT’ Tatham moves on to 11-1 (5 Ko’s). It was quite the spectacle.
Jack Arnfield bounced back from November’s bruising British middleweight title war with Nick Blackwell to stop Alistair Warren in the fifth of a scheduled eight. Arnfield made heavy work of his return to action as times by allowing Warren to crowd him and turn the fight into an inside battle but, when he managed to utilise his reach, things began to fall into place for the Blackpool man. Arnfield will undoubtedly have his eye on next weeks fight between Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jnr. Be it a rematch with Blackwell or a fight for the vacant belt should Eubank win and immediately relinquish the title, Anfield, now 20-2 (5 KO’s), would make warrant a second crack at the Lonsdale belt after acquitting himself so well at short notice last time out.
‘Ruthless’ Ryan Doyle, 12-1-1 (7 KO’s), got back into the winners enclosure after taking less than two rounds to walk through the bigger Ismail Anwar. Doyle was widely perceived to have been unfortunate to only be rewarded with a split draw after seemingly getting the better of new Commonwealth featherweight champion, Isaac Lowe, last November and took his frustrations out on poor Anwar. Doyle moved his head, planted his head on Anwar’s chest and unloaded with hard hooks to head and body. Nothing Anwar tried was ever going to keep Doyle off last night and it will only be a matter of time before the 24 year old from Gorton is back in the thick of the domestic title picture.
Young Luke Evans produced another impressive performance and showed just why people are getting excited about the Salford youngster. At just 19 years old, Evans, 2-0, fights with the assurance of a much more experienced fighter and had his way with poor Liam Richards. Richards, with his floppy fringe making his task even harder, somehow gritted his teeth and mauled and moved his way through the four rounds but he will have had many easier nights. Salford born Evans is one to watch.
Evans’ teammate at the Irlam Boxing Academy, Lee Gillespie, continued his return after a four year hiatus with a dominant display to outpoint Youssef Al Hamidi. Al Hamidi’s name usually comes with the prefix 40-36 but he generally gives a solid account of himself. Gillespie made him work for every second of the fight and showed the pedigree that took him to an ABA final in 2008. Coincidentally, that was the same year that Tyson Fury, Anthony Ogogo, Liam Smith and George Groves claimed ABA titles. Gillespie, 5-0, is 28 years old but looks capable of moving on quickly.
Black Flash Promotions sent two fighters across town to get some rounds under their belts and both Sean Ben Mulligan 4-0 (1 KO), and Chris Monaghan,4-0, turned in career best performances. Prestwich’s Mulligan managed the almost impossible and floored Kristian Laight before bamboozling him for the remainder of their four rounder at light welterweight whilst Salford’s Monaghan was too active and had too much variety for the brave Lewis Van Poetics who finished their four round battle at super middleweight bloody faced but full of aggression. The fighters from the Collyhurst and Moston gym all seem to have been working on lateral movement and creating angles and, so far, the results speak for themselves.
Ben Sheedy sold over 300 tickets for his professional debut and the Champs Camp middleweight gave his followers a huge scare before claiming four round victory over Robert Studzinski. After a torrid second round, Sheedy, 26, was guided through the remainder of the fight by his team of Ensley Bingham, Maurice Core and Carl Thompson and emerged with a 40-37 verdict. Studzinski is one of the danger men amongst the journeymen ranks and made Sheedy work ever so hard for his win.
Charlie Schofield, 5-0, looked the part during his four round light heavyweight win over Andy Neylon. Schofield looked in tremendous condition and fought with a look of determination throughout. Nylon had no real answer for Schofield’s reach and 22 year old from Ashton cantered to a 40-36 win.
Dale Coyne took on Dan Blackwell over four rounds at super middleweight and impressively bullied the Wiltshire warhorse over the first three. Blackwell is a tough man and came back at the man the residents of Ancoats have christened ‘Canelo’ in the fourth but Coyne 4-0 (1 KO), deserved his win. The 21 year old looks to have plenty of potential and just needs to be kept busy.
Heavyweights, Adam Machaj and Ferenc Zsalek, got the night underway with four rounds at heavyweight. Oswaldtwistle’s Machaj, 28, is nicknamed ‘The Heatseeker’ but landed a scud missile of a right hand just behind Zsalek’s ear and the fight didn’t even make it out of the opening round. He moves on to 7-1 (5 KO’s).
Blackwell: Eubank Jr is no role model
LONDON (17 MARCH) Nick 'Bang Bang' Blackwell has hit back at Chris Eubank for labelling him 'bland' and pouring scorn on his reign as British middleweight champion.
Earlier this week Eubank Jr. claimed Blackwell's tenure as British champion didn't do the famous Lonsdale belt justice, but Blackwell, who defends his belt for the third time against Eubank Jr. on March 26 at The SSE Arena, Wembley, finds this laughable.
“He's talking nonsense as always,” said Blackwell. “I don't play much attention to him. He just wants people talking about him and, to do that, he'll say the most stupid stuff possible.
“If we're talking about doing the British title a disservice, how could anybody possibly look up to Chris Eubank Jr? He's the furthest thing from a role model you can get. People talk about him in boxing but not for the right reasons. They never have anything good to say about him. You never hear someone say, 'Oh, yeah, he's a decent guy.'
“If some young kid was getting into boxing and the first boxer they came across was Chris Eubank Jr., they'd be put off the sport for life. They'd think every boxer was as arrogant, big-headed and unlikeable as him.
“If he was to ever get lucky enough to win a British title – and I don't think he ever will – it will be a sad day.”
Though both middleweights insist they hold nothing against the other – that it's not personal – tensions are clearly running high and Blackwell's main issue with Eubank Jr. stems from a belief he's putting on an act.
“He's always trying to be someone he's not,” said Blackwell. “He could actually be a nice kid if he cut the apron strings and was himself a bit more. But he's told what to say by his father and he's always in performance mode. There's nothing real about him.
“He's taking bad advice from people. They all think they've got the game sussed but the facts don't back it up. He's not popular, he can't sell tickets and people only ever talk about him negatively. That's okay if you're going to be Floyd Mayweather, but he's not. He comfortably lost to Billy Joe Saunders.
“He still thinks he beat Billy Joe Saunders, too. He's deluded. Billy Joe boxed his head off for the first six or seven rounds, won every one of them, and then his fitness let him down. If he'd been fitter, he'd have won every round.
“You'd think a defeat like that would make Eubank Jr. a bit more humble and realise he's nothing special, but it doesn't seem to have worked.”
The British champion added: “I never take a fight personally. I don't particularly like Eubank Jr. or his attitude, but I don't take any of his nonsense personally. He doesn't offend me or hurt me in any way. I just don't agree with the way he goes about things.
“Hate is a strong word and I don't know enough about the real Chris Eubank Jr. to say I hate him. All I have to go on is a persona he and his father have created. He's a fake.
“When we fight we'll find out who the real Chris Eubank Jr. is. He won't have his father doing the talking for him, and he won't have him doing the fighting for him, either. It will just be me and him in there.
“He might say I'm a bland fighter and say this is going to be an easy fight – and I'm sure he's looking past me – but deep down he knows this is going to be the toughest fight of his life. We'll see what sort of fighter and man he really is on March 26.”
*** Tickets for the British middleweight title blockbuster between Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jr. are priced at £35, £50, £75, £175, £200 and £250 for ringside and can be purchased online at ssearena.co.uk and axs.com or by phoning the SSE Arena, Wembley Box Office on 0844 815 0815 ***
Eubank says 'Blackwell is bland' and is unimpressed
LONDON (15 MARCH) Chris Eubank Jr. believes British champion Nick Blackwell is merely keeping the throne warm and that on March 26 he will be relieved of his duties and a superior division ruler will be crowned.
Blackwell and Eubank Jr. collide at The SSE Arena, Wembley, live on Channel 5, and the challenger, a former WBA interim world middleweight champion in his own right, is adamant it's high time for a changing of the guard.
“I don't care about Nick Blackwell,” he said. “I only care about the British title he possesses. That's the only reason I'm fighting him.
“He doesn't impress me as a fighter and he doesn't excite me as an opponent. I think he's a very bland character. He's someone who is not really doing British boxing or the British title any justice whatsoever. It's not good for boxing if he's the British champion. They need someone who is really going to fly the flag and inspire and excite people. That's not him. I'm going to take the belts from him and make the British public proud.”
Some have suggested Eubank Jr.'s desire to win a British title is motivated in part by the fact his father, Chris Sr., never picked one up during his own accomplished career. The 26-year-old, however, is quick to shoot down that assumption.
“It has nothing to do with my father,” he said. “No, he didn't win the British title, but he achieved great things in his career. I respect everything he achieved. I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to challenge for this title.
“Ultimately, I am patriotic. I am British. I have grown up here. I love England. It would make me very proud to say I have accomplished this goal. It's something I have always wanted to achieve from day one. That's why I'm going full steam ahead to achieve this milestone in my career. It will be a great addition to my legacy.”
Eubank Jr. came face-to-face with Blackwell earlier this month at a London press conference and claims he saw nothing to suggest the champion stands a chance of holding on to his title on March 26.
“I saw no confidence at all,” said Eubank Jr. “I saw a guy putting on a front for the media. I saw through everything he was saying and trying to do. He's a pretender. He's trying to be somebody he's not because he knows he's in too deep and is going to lose.
“But it's never personal. It's always business. I'm fighting him not because I don't like him but because he has a title I want. I'm sure he's a great guy. But he's got something I want. It doesn't matter whether he likes me or hates me. And that goes for everyone who is watching the fight as well. You can love me or loathe me, but so long as you're watching, I'm happy.”
*** Tickets for the British middleweight title blockbuster between Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jr. are priced at £35, £50, £75, £175, £200 and £250 for ringside and can be purchased online at ssearena.co.uk and axs.com or by phoning the SSE Arena, Wembley Box Office on 0844 815 0815 ***