By Paul Mason (@KOBoxingSets)
And so, this Saturday (4th February) at the London Olympia, ITV dips its toes in the pay per view water, when it charges viewers an eye watering £12.95 (£9.95 up to the day before the fight) for an IBO “World” Super Middleweight title fight. Make no mistake, the IBO is not a main portion of the legitimate championships (WBC,WBA,IBF & WBO are usually considered the big 4) in boxing, and the fact that ITV and the Eubank’s are passing this fight off as a genuine world championship match is laughable in the least.
We are of course talking about Chris Eubank Juniors challenge for Renold Quinlan’s IBO belt. Australian Quinlan (11-1, KO7) acquired the title by knocking out a badly shop worn Daniel Geale in October 2016 in Tasmania. Quinlan has been badly inactive, only fighting twelve times in his eight and a half year professional career, and comes to England seemingly for a career best payday. He has never fought outside his native country. Eubank Junior (23-1, KO18) on the other hand turned pro in 2011, and was subsequently brought through the ranks on a diet of mainly journeymen, until in his nineteenth fight where he met Billy Joe Saunders for the British, Commonwealth and European Middleweight Titles in London in 2014. Junior started far too slowly and was left chasing the fight. This would be to his cost as he was squeezed out by a split decision. He then rebounded with possibly his best performance to date, a last session stoppage of the previously unbeaten Dimitri Chudinov in what was to be his last fight under the Frank Warren banner. He then joined forces with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn and farcically claimed the “Interim” WBA Middleweight title, stopping the hapless Tony Jeter in four. He then ended 2015 with a win over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (retirement) on the big Joshua v Whyte bill.
Tragedy followed in his next fight, as he stopped the overly game and tough Nick Blackwell for the British Middleweight Title, who after the fight slipped into a coma and would be forced to retire. In his most recent fight, Eubank stopped Tom Doran in his first defence of the title, this time on the Joshua v Breazeale bill.
What makes this fight more bizarre (if that’s possible!) is that this is Eubank’s debut at Super Middleweight and not only has he gone straight in for a title, he is curiously ranked as high as 6 with the WBC, despite not ever fighting anyone at the weight. Even so, the prediction is for Eubank to blast Quinlan out within four in a mis-match, thus building up for more pay per view adventures with ITV.
At least the undercard throws up a couple of decent matches (still not pay per view worthy though!) Kid Galahad (21-0, KO12) continues his comeback from a drugs ban against respected former IBF World Bantamweight Champion, Joseph Agbeko (31-5, KO23) in an intriguing fight. I expect Galahad to triumph on points as Agbeko should be on the way down following three losses in his last six fights, albeit against top level opposition. Twice against Abner Mares and once against Cuban slickster, Guillermo Rigondeaux.
David Price (21-3, KO18) also continues his rehabilitation against former Tyson Fury victim, Christian Hammer (20-4, KO11). What makes things interesting in this fight is classic Heavyweight boxing, where one big punch changes everything. I expect Price to win and win well, but would not be surprised If Hammer won by knockout, should one bug punch land.
Andrew Selby (7-0, KO5) also features on the bill attempting to enhance his world ranking, contesting the WBC International Flyweight Title against Philipino Ardin Diale (32-10, KO15).
It will certainly be interesting to see the buy rates for this, and weather this is a failed gamble or not for ITV.