Eubank Jr. wants to knockout Abraham
By William Mackay: IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr. is hoping to become the first man to knockout former 2 division world champion Arthur Abraham in their fight this Saturday night on July 15 at the Wembley Arena in London, England.
The winner of the Eubank Jr.-Abraham fight will move on to the quarterfinals in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) against Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs). That’s a winnable fight for Eubank Jr. or Abraham. It’s going to be hard for Eubank Jr. (24-1, 19 KOs) to win this fight, as it’s a big step up from the guys he’s been fighting since 2014.
The closest fighter on Eubank Jr’s 6-year pro resume that you can compare to Abraham (46-5, 30 KOs) in fighting style and power is Gary O’Sullivan. Abraham is a lot better than O’Sullivan though. Eubank Jr. was buzzed by a big shot from O’Sullivan in the opening rounds. If O’Sullivan had kept throwing punches, it would have been an interesting fight. He definitely showed that Eubank Jr. is vulnerable to getting hurt.
The 27-year-old Eubank Jr. wants to make sure that he takes the judges out of the equation for the fight by getting a knockout of the 37-year-old Abraham. It’s not going to be easy, because Eubank Jr. isn’t a natural super middleweight. He’s a 160 pound fighter competing in the 168 lb. division against weaker opposition thus far. Seeing an opportunity to pick up an easy belt with the IBO super middleweight strap, Eubank Jr. moved up to 168 earlier this year and defeated little known IBO champion Renold Quinlan by a 10th round knockout on February 4. It was a good win for Eubank Jr., but it wasn’t against a quality operator.
“I’m definitely looking for a stoppage. He hasn’t been stopped before and I want to be the first man to do that,” said Eubank Jr. to ESPN.com. “If I can pull off the stoppage it’s a huge statement and it puts me in a position to challenge for the world titles.”
it would be a statement if Eubank Jr. can knockout Abraham, considering that he’s been in with bigger punchers than him in Andre Dirrell, Edison Miranda, Jermain Taylor, Carl Froch, Paul Smith, Robert Stieglitz and Howard Eastman. Those guys are all bigger punchers than Eubank Jr. in this writer’s opinion. Eubank Jr. gets his knockouts by volume punching, not by landing a big shot like those fighters. The risk of Eubank Jr. trying to knockout Abraham with volume punching is it will leave him in the line of fire for his heavy blows. Abraham does hit very hard, and if he connects with a perfect shot, he’s going to hurt Eubank Jr. We saw O’Sullivan hurt Eubank Jr., and Abraham hits just as hard as he does. If O’Sullivan hadn’t stopped punching after the 3rd round, it would have been an interesting fight to see if Eubank Jr. could go the distance.
Eubank Jr. had the chance to fight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders in 2016, but he chose not to take the fight. Rather than face those two top level fighters, Eubank Jr. spent last year beating domestic level fighters Tom Doran and Nick Blackwell. The victories told the boxing world nothing due to Eubank Jr. fighting non contenders in mismatches. The same can be said about Eubank Jr’s recent win over Quinlan. He was once again fighting an opponent that was not a world class fighter.
“I can’t afford to have any losses. Each fight I have to make statements and prove this is not hype, I’m the real deal,” said Eubank Jr.
Eubank Jr. is already too late as far as him not wanting to be beaten. Billy Joe Saunders defeated Eubank Jr. by a 12 round split decision in 2014. That was definitely a loss for Eubank Jr. He spent a good portion of the fight posing after throwing punches. It wasn’t until the last part of the fight where Eubank Jr. stopped posing and started letting his hands go. However, by that point, he needed some knockdowns to get back into the fight, and he couldn’t do that.
Eubank Jr’s punching power wasn’t enough to hurt Saunders. Eubank Jr. is right about not being able to afford to be beaten. With $10 million at stake in the World Boxing Super Series, Eubank Jr. needs to make sure he beats Abraham in style and then move on to his quarter final fight in the WBSS against Avni Yildirim. The other competitors in the World Boxing Super Series are as follows:
George Groves vs. Jamie Cox
Callum Smith vs. Erik Skoglund
Juergen Braehmar vs. Rob Brant
Abraham has won 10 out of his last 11 fights since 2013. Unfortunately for Abraham, he was soundly beaten just last year by Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez by a 12 round decision. Abraham was outclassed by Ramirez from start to finish. Abraham did a good job of turning his career around in his last two fights in defeating Tim Robin Lihaug and Robins Krasniqi. Neither of those fighters is in the same class as Eubank Jr. Abraham’s wins over those guys were expected, and they didn’t do much to give an indication of how well he’ll do against Eubank Jr.
Besides his loss to Ramirez, Abraham hasn’t looked good in fights against Stieglitz, Paul Smith and Martin Murray. Abraham struggled against all of those guys, and he was fortunate to get the win. Some boxing fans think Abraham should have lost to Smith in their first fight in 2014. The judges were impressed more with Abraham’s heavier shots than the constant shots that Smith was landing during the contest. Never the less, Abraham did not shine in either of his fights with Paul Smith. Murray came close to beating Abraham in November 2015. The fight was there to be won by Murray if he’d gone on the attack in the second half of the bout. Murray spent too much time on defense and not enough in throwing punches.
Eubank Jr. should be able to get past Abraham on Saturday. He’s facing an older guy, who doesn’t let his hands go the way he needs to for him to beat someone like Eubank Jr. Where Eubank Jr. is going to likely stumble is when he gets in against the likes of George Groves, Juergen Braehmer and Callum Smith in the World Boxing Super Series. Those are tough fighters with power and excellent boxing skills. Eubank Jr. is not going to be able to beat those guys unless he ups his game to another level.
You don’t just beat those guys with volume punching. You need to have a better plan. If Eubank Jr. stands in front of those fighters and tries to outwork them, he could get hurt. It’s going to be hard enough for Eubank Jr. to try and defeat Abraham with activity alone. Abraham might clip him with something. Say what you want about Abraham being a limited fighter, if he gets his opponents in trouble, he’s very good at finishing them off. He won’t let Eubank Jr. off the hook if he gets him hurt in the fight. Abraham will pour it on with his power shots, and he doesn’t frequently miss. Eubank Jr. might need to think of another way of beating Abraham rather than doing it on work rate alone. This isn’t Renold Quinlan that Eubank Jr. is fighting on Saturday.
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