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Eubank Jr: “Groves, I’m coming for you”

Image: Eubank Jr: "Groves, I'm coming for you"

By Scott Gilfoid: Following his 3rd round knockout win over Avni Yildirim (16-1, 10 KOs) on Saturday night in the World Boxing Super Series tournament, IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) called out WBA 168 lb. champion George Groves, telling him that he’s coming for him and imploring him not to lose his fight next Saturday night against Jamie Cox in the tournament.

Eubank Jr. will be fighting the winner of the Groves-Cox fight in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.

Eubank Jr. made speedy work of Yildirim in stopping him in the 3rd round tonight at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle, in Stuttgart, Germany. Yildirim backed Eubank Jr. up against the ropes in round 3. Eubank Jr. then unloaded with a storm of shots with his back against the ropes. Yildirim gave ground, backing up to the center of the ring. At that point, Eubank Jr. hit Yildirim with 5 straight punches to the head to put him down on the canvas.

The referee stopped the fight as soon as Yildirim hit the canvas. While some boxing fans felt it was a premature stoppage by the referee, I’m fine with his decision in ending it. Yildirim was badly hurt and he was not going to be able to get up and continue fighting. When Yildirim did get to his feet, he was unsteady as he walked back to his corner. If the referee had allowed the contest to continue, Eubank Jr. would have smashed him immediately. Yildirim might have gotten hurt. The fight was stopped at 1:58 of round 3.

“I’m here to dominate the tournament,” said Eubank Jr. after his 3rd round knockout win over Yildirim on Saturday night in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. “I’m sending a message out to everybody that I’m coming. George Groves, get through your next fight with Jamie Cox so we can give the British public and the world boxing fans what they want to see, which is me and you in January, and we’ll see what happens. I think it’s going to be exactly what we saw tonight. I’m going out there to knock these guys out. I’m not playing anymore,” said Eubank Jr.

Eubank Jr. is the No.3 seed in the tournament. He looked good tonight against a limited fighter in Yildirim, but he wasn’t getting hit back all that frequently. You could tell that Eubank Jr. felt the shots that Yildirim did hit him with, because there was a momentary hesitation. Eubank’s punch resistance might not hold up when he gets hit by Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament next January.

Groves and Jamie Cox (24-0, 13 KOs) will be fighting next Saturday on October 14 at the Wembley Arena in London, England. Groves, 29, is the favorite to beat Cox, who hasn’t done a whole lot to deserve being in the WBSS tournament.

“I’ve been trying to get a fight now with Groves for a few years,” said Eubank Jr. ”He has a world title. He has the name. We have the history, and the boxing fans have been asking for this fight for years. We need to get the ring and settle it once and for all. James DeGale, Billy Joe Saunders, all those other British fighters, they don’t want to get in the ring with me. George Groves signed on the dotted line to compete in this tournament. So as long as he wins his next fight, we’re going to get it on and give the people what they want to see,” said Eubank Jr.

I don’t know how hard Eubank Jr. tried in the past to get a fight against Groves. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eubank Jr. just put in a token effort to get the fight like he did with the Gennady Golovkin fight that he let slip through his fingers. As far as Billy Joe Saunders goes, him and his promoter have been frustrated a trying to put a fight together with Eubank Jr. They clearly have wanted the fight with Eubank Jr. in the past, but they have had no luck in getting him in the ring.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the same thing with James DeGale. Eubank Jr. and his father will need to work better with the other fighters and their promoters to make sure they can get the big fights that will help make them a big name in boxing. Eubank Jr. doesn’t need to worry about the headaches of trying ti make important rights right now due to him being in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. All the fights go in sequence in this single-elimination tournament. The only thing Eubank Jr. has to worry about is winning so he can keep moving forward.

”Lions don’t concern themselves with the thoughts of the sheep,” said Eubank Jr. about the boxing fans that criticize him. ”Armchair critics can say what they want. If I don’t have power, I don’t have power. I’m not there to prove anybody right or wrong. I’m here to get in there and give the public and the boxing fans what they want to see, which is exciting fights, whether it’s a knockout, whether it’s a 12 round decision, whether it’s a stoppage, I’m always going in there giving it 100 percent, giving the fans what they want to see. You can’t really ask for more,” said Eubank Jr.

Well, if Eubank Jr. can keep performing like he did on Saturday night in stopping Yildirim, then he won’t have to worry about the criticism too much longer. The boxing fans will stop criticizing Eubank Jr. and start believing in him. But Eubank Jr. is going to need to make sure he faces good opposition after the WBSS ends, because it’s going to look bad if he just fights the domestic and European level fighters that he’s been facing during the last few years since his loss to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014.

”He was a strong come forward fighter like I thought he was going to be, but the experience was not there for him,” said Eubank Jr. about Yildirim. “He’s 16-0, but I think he needs to work technically on his boxing ability. To compete with a fighter like me, you have to come with more than just big, heavy punches, coming forward. If you do that, I’m going to catch you,” said Eubank Jr.

Eubank Jr. was the one that picked Yildirim out for the fight. If Eubank Jr. wanted a good fighter, he should have picked someone with experience like Anthony Dirrell to fight. Yildirim is just starting his boxing career at this point, and he’s still very raw and not ready to be taking on world class opposition yet.

”Groves is an experienced, well rounded fighter, and that’s why the boxing fans want to see that fight, because they know it’s going to be competitive, and they know it’s going to be exciting,” said Eubank Jr. ”I’m back in the gym tomorrow. Groves, I’m coming for you. I guess I have to [attend Groves vs. Cox next Saturday]. These guys are in the tournament. These are the guys I’m fighting, so I want to see up close what they’re made of. I know I have the beating of them. I’ll be there to make sure they’re toeing the line,” said Eubank Jr.

Groves is likely going to make easy work of Jamie Cox next Saturday, so Eubank Jr. won’t have to worry too much about that. But it’s going to be hard for Eubank Jr. to deal with Groves because he’s going to take some big shots in that fight, and it could be a much different story from the type of fodder that he’s used to fighting. Eubank Jr. has been taking it easy for the last 3 years since his loss to Saunders in 2014. The best guys that Eubank Jr. has fought since then were Gary O’Sullivan, Dmitry Chudinov and Yildirim. Those are weak opponents. We could see Eubank Jr. badly exposed when he steps it up against Groves in early 2018.

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