News April 2019

Chris Eubank Jr: Future great or over-rated fake?


Three former Eubank Junior opponents give their view

By Michael J Jones

Future champion? Chris Eubank Jr

The jury is still out on Chris Eubank Jr. The 23-year-old has done little wrong so far in amassing a perfect 8-0 (3) record in just over a year as a pro foloowing a solid amateur career. The Brighton prospect is keeping busy and even fights this weekend on the James DeGale undercard just one week after an eight-round decision over Welshman Bradley Pryce.

Looking to emulate his father’s success by winning a world title, the quick-handed young pro is even trained by Chris Sr’s old second Ronnie Davies. Eubank Jr has tried hard to bring his father’s confidence and showmanship in his ring appearances so far, but many question whether the former WBO champion’s son can get close to his Dad’s impressive ring achievements.

Here Livefight asks three men who have shared a ring with Chris Eubank Jr; how far can the second-coming of “Simply the best” go?

Yorkshire hard-man Harry Matthews fought Chris Jr last May, losing a six-round decision 60-54. The bout saw “The Pocklington Rocket” press the action early and have success with clubbing punches in close before the quicker man swept the last few rounds. As in the case with many of Eubank Jr’s contests; the fight looked far closer than the shutout scorecard.

Harry Matthews

“I had three weeks notice for the fight so I was pretty fit. The fight was made at 11st 10 which was ok for me (though higher than most of Matthews’ previous contests). He tried to stand toe-to-toe with me early on but he wasn’t as strong as I thought he’d be. He’s a better hitter-and-mover than a fighter. I think whoever fights him will always have more success in close than at range. I definitely felt like I hurt him in there.

Tough fight; Chris overcomes Matthews

I thought I was doing well in the contest but I ran out of gas around the fourth and then he pulled away a bit. I think if I had gone in to the fight with better fitness and had stayed more relaxed early on, I could have done even better.

The decision was wide but, to be honest, I expected it. I went in there to win and the fight has done good for my career; people know me for fighting Chris and I’d fight him again tomorrow if I could!

I feel the future has been scripted for Eubank Jr already. He’s trying hard to be like his Dad but maybe he should develop his own style as what worked for his Dad may not work for him the same way. I know the Eubank’s for what they are and they’re clever business men who know exactly what they are doing.”

Can Eubank Jr go on to succeed at world level?

“There’s still a lot of nurturing to be done. He beat Bradley Pryce last time out so it shows he’s going the right way. He wasn’t world class when I fought him, maybe British level. Anyone in boxing who has talent, determination and a good team behind him can go all the way so, yes, I think he can get to that level.”

Last July, Birmingham’s Terry Carruthers lost a close decision to the Brighton-man over six entertaining rounds in Somerset. The bout was Eubank Jr’s fifth outing and he eased to a 59-57 verdict in a bout in which the smaller Carruthers had plenty of success with his sharp counters.

Terry Carruthers

“I fought Chris on four days notice and at a higher weight but I took the fight as I didn’t think he was that strong a fighter. He’s very fast for a middleweight; he matched my hand-speed which is quick as I’m not a big hitter. I think as soon as he takes on a really strong guy like Ryan Aston or Cello Renda; he’ll go over.

In the fight, I think I deserved a draw. I heard people say afterwards that he threw more punches but a lot of his body shots weren’t hitting me. It was a fight that was half-and-half, very even, that’s why I feel I deserved at least a draw.

People say about him copying his Dad but I think that’s his own doing. All of the poses and silly moves worked for his Dad because he was a world champion but Junior isn’t even knocking anyone out. He’s starting to get hated for it by many people.

At the end of a fight it’s customary that you shake hands with your opponent but at the end of our fight he didn’t want to know, completely blanked me. I had a good chat with his Dad though; he’s down to earth.”

Can Eubank Jr go on to succeed at world level?

“From the performances he’s giving now; no way, he’s no where near it. He’s probably rated about six in Britain and look at the guys above him…Matthew Macklin would stop him in two rounds. I’ve nothing against Chris but he’s in trouble if he fights a strong middleweight.”

Eubank Jr and Carruthers weigh-in stare

Just last week, Newport’s former Commonwealth champion Bradley Pryce gave Eubank junior a stern test over eight rounds on the Tyson Fury undercard. The younger and broader prospect’s size and speed ultimately proved too much for the battle-scarred Pryce who went down by a far-too-wide 80-73. Pryce, a veteran of over forty bouts, seemed to hurt the younger man in the third and pressed the action most of the contest as the Brighton prospect was content to pick his speedy shots on the move.

Bradley Pryce

“I was in training for a fight on the 15th of December when I got the call on three days notice (to fight on November 30th). The weight of 11st 10lbs wasn’t ideal for me as I’m only a light-middleweight and, as he keeps calling out James DeGale, obviously he’s going to end up a super-middleweight.

He’s very fast but open to the right-hand. I threw it a few times but didn’t have the power to trouble him. He held the advantage being naturally bigger than me but I felt I hurt him a few times but wasn’t able to follow up.

The decision was a bit of a shock but that’s going to happen on his own show isn’t it? I thought it was a lot closer and so did many other people. I think everybody knows the decision wasn’t right.

It’s good that his Dad is there to guide him but he’ll never amount to what his Dad did. He doesn’t hit anywhere near as hard as Sergei Rabchenko and he’s not as fast or slick as Billy Joe Saunders.”

Can Eubank Jr go on to succeed at world level?

“As soon as he meets a strong middleweight or super-middleweight he’ll get exposed. His power never troubled me and I feel I exposed his short-comings in our fight. I don’t think he’ll even win a British title."


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