In the early 1990s, Chris Eubank Sr. was one of Britain’s biggest boxing stars. His rivalry with countryman Nigel Benn is a legitimate piece of boxing legend.
His son, Chris Jr., has yet to reach anything like that kind of status. But he is knocking on the door to stardom. His only loss in 26 professional fights came via split decision to Billy Joe Saunders. His KO percentage is a formidable 73 percent.
Eubank’s best wins have been a TKO of Dmitrii Chudinov at middleweight and against and by near shutout over Arthur Abraham this past July. A one-sided victory over Abraham hardly means what it meant five or six years ago–the rugged Armenian is 37 now and has been through wars. But the victory still gives Eubanks a major name on his resume. There can be no arguing that he is a contender. It is reasonable to rank him inside of the division’s top 10.
He will face an interesting test this weekend in Stutgartt, Germany, when he faces undefeated Avni Yildirim of Turkey. Yildirim elevated himself to contender status last May, when he defeated Marco Antonio Periban by scores of 116-111 and 117-110 twice. Periban is no world beater. But he is a very experienced super middleweight–I thought he deserved the nod in his draw with Badou Jack in September 2013.
I expect Eubank to win but am not about to pencil him in ahead of time. Yildirim could have some surprises in store for his more famous opponent.
If Eubank does take care of business, I’d like to see him get his shot at IBF belt holder James DeGale. DeGale has been inactive since January, so if this bout proves easy, maybe something could even be arranged before the end of the year. Another good option for raising Eubank’s profile would be fellow Brit George Groves.