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GUEST ARTICLE: Eubank Jr v Abraham – Passing Of The Torch?

By Paul Mason (@KOBoxingSets)

It is expected to be confirmed tomorrow (June 7), that Chris Eubank Jr will make the first defence of the lightly regarded IBO Super Middleweight Title that he won back in February, against German based Armenian, and former two weight World Champion, Arthur Abraham. This is a surprising move, but in my opinion more for Abraham rather than Eubank.

 

The match is slated for July 15 at Wembley Arena, and once again Poxon Sports promote, and ITV Box Office is the platform that will broadcast the contest. Eubank is coming off a stoppage win over the Australian, Renold Quinlan to capture the IBO Title in his last fight.

 

The 37 year old Abraham is a 51 fight veteran (46-5, KO30), and is certainly in the twilight of his career. The matchup is obviously seen as a way of putting a big name on Eubank’s resume, in order for him to be considered a big player in the division. I can only imagine that relatively big money has been thrown Abraham’s way, as only six of his paid contests have taken place outside Germany, and I wouldn’t imagine he would leave home comforts easily.

 

Abraham became the IBF Middleweight Champion in his 19th contest, knocking out Kingsley Ikeke in five rounds in 2005. He made ten successful defences of the belt over a four year period, before moving up in weight to take part in the massive Showtime Super Six Super Middlweight Tournament. After a chilling twelfth and final round knockout against a declining Jermain Taylor in his first group match in Berlin, the wheels started to come off for Abraham, and he was exposed in his next two fights. The first was a trip to Detroit to take on Andre Dirrell, who had been tightly outpointed by Britain’s Carl Froch for the WBC Title in his first group match. Abraham was anonymous from the off, and was knocked down for the first time in his career in the fourth. He was also cut over his right eye, and well behind on points, when, in the eleventh round, slick spot in the corner of the ring caused Dirrell to slip to one knee. While down, Abraham delivered a punch to the chin of Dirrell. A delayed reaction was followed by Dirrell lying on the ground, unconscious and shaking. The referee disqualified Abraham for and awarded Dirrell a victory. Some critics thought that Dirrell may have overreacted after Abraham’s final punch, and this has further been enhanced after the events of Dirrell’s contest with Jose Uzcategui two weeks ago, when the same thing happened.

 

Abraham’s next assignment was to challenge Carl Froch for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight Title in Helsinki, Finland. Froch put on a clinic, winning every round on two judges’ scorecards to thrash Abraham, exposing his tendency to be out boxed at the highest level. After a time marking win over Stjepan Bozic, Abraham was again trounced on the cards in the Semi Finals of the Super Six against the gifted Andre Ward, again losing widely to make it three losses in four fights. Arguably Abraham hasn’t been the same fighter since the Super Six. Although he captured the WBO Super Middleweight Title by out pointing Robert Stieglitz in 2012, he was stopped in four rounds six months later in a rematch. He regained the crown again three fights later by beating Stieglitz via split decision in March 2014. After beating Nikola Sjekloca, Abraham scored back to back wins over Liverpool’s Paul Smith. Robert Stieglitz was beaten once and for all via sixth round stoppage, before he held on to the Title by beating Martin Murray on a split decision. Abraham then made a step up by meeting the highly touted Gilberto Ramirez in Las Vegas. Abraham was again heavily beaten, losing every round on all three cards. He has since rebounded with low key wins against Tim Robin Lihaug (TKO8) and last time out against perennial gate keeper Robin Krasniqi (Unanimous), nothing that Eubank will lose sleep over.

Eubank Junior (24-1, KO19) 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).

 

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. Eubank  then stopped Tom Doran in his first defence of the title, this time on the Joshua v Breazeale bill.

I envisage Eubank looking good in this one, either by stoppage, or a wide points win, as Abraham will not like the heat that Eubank will likely put on him for large periods of the fight. One would hope this would be a fight which then leads to the stabilisers coming off for Eubank, and a challenge to the divisions big guns to follow, as there are plenty of domestic options available in IBF champion, James DeGale, WBA Champion, George Groves, and Callum Smith, who challenges for the vacant WBC crown shortly.

 

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