Eubank Jr wants Canelo, Golovkin, Murata or Jermall title shot
By Jeff Aronow: Chris Eubank Jr is taking a shotgun approach to picking the opponent for his next fight by targeting world champions Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, and Ryota Murata. Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) wants whichever champion he can line up a fight against this year.
Last year in December, Eubank Jr beat Matt Korobov by a second-round injury stoppage to win the interim WBC middleweight title. Now ranked #1 by the World Boxing Association, the 30-year-old Eubank Jr is in the prime position to take on WBA ‘regular’ 160-lb champion Ryota Murata or WBA Super World champ Canelo.
Eubank would likely prefer a fight against Canelo. Still, he’s busy with a lawsuit against Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN, so he probably won’t be available for the remainder of 2020.
Chris Jr calling out the champions
Eubank Jr isn’t content with merely being the interim WBA middleweight titleholder. He wants the real strap against Canelo or Murata. However, he’s also ready and willing to take on WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo or IBF champion Gennady Golovkin.
Eubank Jr will be monitoring this month’s fight between WBC champion Charlo and challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko on September 26. Whoever wins that fight, Eubank Jr wants them.
“I’m No 1 contender for the WBA world titles,” Eubank Jr said to Sky Sports. “So Canelo has the ‘super’ version and Ryota Murata has the ‘regular’ version.
“I’m the interim WBA world champion, so those are the fights that make sense. I want those belts. Charlo, Golovkin, all these guys with belts in my division, whoever I can get fast.”
Eubank Jr has little chance of fighting any of those guys “fast” because they’re all tied down. Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) will likely be done for the year after his title defense against Derevyanchenko on September 26, especially if it’s a grueling contest. Jermall isn’t going to want to get right back into training camp to face Eubank Jr in December.
WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) is perhaps Eubank’s best hope because he hasn’t fought since beating Steven Butler on December 23 last year. The World Boxing Associaton could help Eubank Jr out by ordering Murata to defend against him within 90 days.
Murata a good option
As things are right now, Murata appears to be sitting out for the remainder of the year without fighting. That means no title defenses from him for a solid 12 rounds.
The WBA needs to stay on top of its champions to make sure they’re defending their titles at least on an annual basis, if not more frequently. That’s another thing that’s hurting boxing. Champions that only defend their titles once a year.
Canelo does no one any good with him sitting on his WBA title for a year without fighting. In situations like that, the WBA needs to have their interim champions elevated to champion, and then make the inactive belt-holder fight the new champ when they come back from their time off.
Murata has been a weak champion since winning the WBA secondary middleweight strap in 2017 in defeating Hassan N’Dam. He’s defended the WBA title twice successfully, beating Emanuele Blandamura and Steven Butler.
Murata lost the strap to Rob Brant in their first fight in losing a 12 round decision in October 2018. In July of last year, Murata recaptured his WBA title, stopping Brant in the second round in their rematch in Osaka, Japan.
Eubank Jr targeting Canelo
“Put me in the ring with Canelo, put me in the ring with GGG. These are the guys I want,” Eubank Jr said.
“If I have to fight somebody to get to those guys, then I will do so. In my mind, I only want the top-level fights now.”
Eubank Jr is kidding himself if he thinks Canelo is going to fight him this year. Even if the Mexican star weren’t bogged down with litigation for what could be a long, long trial, he still likely wouldn’t look Eubank Jr’s way. His fighting style is all wrong for Canelo with the way he throws a lot of punches.
Canelo has a low to medium work rate, and he doesn’t do well when he’s forced to fight at a fast pace by his opponents. In Canelo’s fights against Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Austin Trout, and Erislandy Lara, he gassed out in the second half.
To make a long story short, Canelo isn’t going to fight Eubank Jr. If the WBA orders Alvarez to face Chris, and I doubt that they will, he’ll probably ignore them and vacate his title.
Eubank Jr says Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders aren’t serious about wanting to fight Canelo, and he sees them as “scared of him.” He feels they’re name dropping Alvarez’s name to get attention from the fans.
“I’m the only one that’s really calling his name. I don’t hear anybody else saying they want to fight him,” said Eubank Jr about Canelo.
Running out of time
“I’m 30-years-old, 31 in a week or so,” continued Eubank Jr. “We’ve got to go full steam ahead. I’ve got two, three years of prime, athletic ability left, and then once you start hitting 34, 35, you start seeing that dip. I want to get in as many fights with as many top opponents as I can,” said Eubank Jr.
Unfortunately, Eubank Jr wasted so much time at 168, winning the IBO title from Renold Quinlan in 2017, and then staying in that division until 2019. Had Eubank Jr stayed at 160 all this time, he likely would have already fought Canelo and Golovkin.
Eubank missed out on his chance to fight GGG in 2016 when promoter Eddie Hearn gave the Golovkin fight to Kell Brook after negotiations stalled. Chris Jr was supposed to fight Golovkin, but Hearn didn’t want to stick it out with the negotiations, so he offered the GGG fight to Brook, and he quickly agreed.
At this point in Eubank’s career, he needs to fight the best possible opponent he can get. He’s probably not going to get any of the world champions to fight him in 2020 during the pandemic, so he’ll need to face someone else.
One of these contenders would work for Eubank Jr:
- Jaime Munguia
- Maciej Sulecki
- Esquivia Falcao
- Liam Williams
- Vincent Feigenbutz
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