By Jake Tiernan: Chris Eubank Jr. has been installed as the #1 contender to WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly following his tenth round knockout win over Liam Smith in their rematch earlier this month on September 2nd in Manchester, England.
It’s arguably a pointless move on the World Boxing Organization’s part, as Eubank Jr. isn’t likely to take advantage of the move to#1 at 160 because it’s believed that his focus is on making money in event-level fighting the way TysonFury now does exclusively rather than on fighting the top level opposition the fans want to see.
It’ll be interesting to see how long the World Boxing Organization keeps Eubank Jr. at the #1 spot in their middleweight rankings after they remove him after he declines to fight for a world title against whichever champion ends up with that belt next month.
Once Eubank Jr. turns down the title shot, he’ll likely be lowered in the WBO’s top 15 rankings towards the bottom of the pack, which is probably where should be, given that he’s not shown interest during his career in fighting for world titles.
The next highest-ranked contender in the rankings at middleweight is Meirim Nursultanov (19-0, 11 KOs), who is clearly a better fighter than Eubank Jr. in this writer’s view.
The 34-year-old Eubank Jr. would be showing a lot of bravery by choosing to take on the winner of the October 14th fight between WBO champion Janibek (14-0, 9 KOs) and IBF champ Vincenzo Gualtieri (21-0,7 KOs) for the IBF/WBO belts.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening is virtually nonexistent, as Eubank Jr. has never shown much ambition to fight for world titles during twelve-year professional career.
Eubank Jr. has fought for a world title once, losing to George Groves by a 12 round unanimous decision in a failed effort to capture the WBA super middleweight belt in 2018.
Since that loss, Eubank Jr. has focused on fighting soft opposition exclusively against these guys in the past I’ve five years:
– Liam Smith x 2
– Liam Williams
– Wanik Awdijan
– Marcus Morrison
– Matt Korobov
– James DeGale -*at the end of his career
It’s believed that the fight that Eubank Jr. (33-3, 24 KOs)wants next is British welterweight Conor Benn in what will likely take place in a stadium in the UK and be sold on DAZN PPV.
If Eubank Jr. wins that fight, his next probable opponent is retired former welterweight Kell Brook. Again, that’s another celebrity/circus-level event because Brook is shot to pieces and retired.