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Chris Eubank Jr. needs world title fight before battling Benn, Saunders or Golovkin says promoter Ben Shalom

Image: Chris Eubank Jr. needs world title fight before battling Benn, Saunders or Golovkin says promoter Ben Shalom

By Barry Holbrook: Promoter Ben Shalom wants Chris Eubank Jr. to focus first on proving himself in a world title fight before looking at facing Conor Benn, Billy Joe Saunders, or Gennadiy Golovkin afterward.

Eubank is ranked #1 WBA, #3 WBC, and #4 WBO. Based on his rankings, his best chance would be to challenge WBA middleweight champion Golovkin, but that probably won’t happen in 2022.

Golovkin is facing Canelo Alvarez in a trilogy match on September 17th, and that’ll likely be it for the remainder of the year for GGG.

The former IBO super-middleweight champion Eubank Jr. (32-2, 23 KOs) is getting on in years at 32, and it’s clear that his career is rapidly heading towards the end.

Eubank Jr is going on 33, and he’s never captured one of the major world title straps during his 11-year professional career.

Moreover, Eubank Jr has only fought for one of the prestigious belts once, and that was a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision loss to George Groves in 2018 in a fight for the WBA super-middleweight belt.

“I think Chris would love that fight [against Billy Joe],’ promoter Ben Shalom said to the Metro.

It’s unrealistic for Eubank Jr. to be thinking of a fighting former two-division world champion Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) this year.

The 32-year-old Saunders is coming off a fractured right eye socket injury in his eighth-round stoppage loss to Canelo last May, and he’s not likely to take on a big puncher in his first fight later this year.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn revealed last week that he’d like Saunders to return to the ring in September or October, but not against Eubank Jr.

“Eubank now finds himself in a position in his career whereby he needs to prove himself as a world champion,” said Shalom.

Chris is ranked #3 with the WBC, so he could, in theory, get a title shot against champion Jermall Charlo, but it isn’t very likely for 2022.

Jermall seems to be in a holding pattern, making soft defenses until he gets a cash-out payday fight against Canelo next year. In looking at the careful matching being done by Jermall by his management at PBC, they’re not putting him in with risky opposition that can potentially beat him.

That rules out Eubank Jr. because he would have an excellent shot at defeating the badly flawed Charlo.

“If the opportunity is there to fight for a world title, he should be taking it, regardless of the name,” said Shalom about Eubank Jr.

“I think once Chris has proved his world title credentials; it makes a potential fight with the likes of Conor Benn, Billy Joe, or Golovkin later down the line so much bigger.”

If Shalom wants Eubank Jr. to fight for a world title in 2022, he must target WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Erislandy Lara. Lara is up there in age at 39 and only holds the WBA secondary 160-lb belt, but at least it’s a title.

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