Rising middleweight contender Chris Eubank Junior is on the hunt for his first win since losing his undefeated record to British, Commonwealth and European Champion Billy Joe Saunders via way of a split decision back in November. He takes on unbeaten Russian prospect Dmitry Chudinov for his interim WBA World middleweight title at the O2 Arena in London on 28th February.
The main WBA title is held by Gennady Golovkin; the most feared fighter in the division. It’s unlikely that any up and coming contender in the 160lbs division will be targeting him first. By winning the WBA interim title it doesn’t mean that Eubank Jr will be taking the WBA route to a crack at world title glory. It looks as if he will focus on the WBO title and try to push for either a rematch against Saunders or a fight against Irishman Andy Lee or even Peter Quillin depending on how their fights pan out. Lee looks set to take on American Peter Quillin at the Barclays Centre in New York in April, and providing he wins he will have to face his mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders next.
There are a lot of fighters in the game that feel as though Eubank Jr has engineered himself into a position in the world rankings that he does not yet deserve and that he has skipped past the best domestic fighters by using his father name and presence. It’s true to say he has not fought many of Britain’s best prospects but the fact that he was in such a close fight with Saunders who is at this moment in time the most advanced rising British boxer at middleweight went some way to vindicating his worthiness of a shot at the titles.
He failed to live up to the words that his legendary father had bestowed upon him in the build up to the fight but despite acknowledging his obvious raw talent not many within the sport were buying the hyperbolic outbursts of Eubank Senior and they were proved exactly right.
There was however a lot of positives for him to take from the fight. He came on like a train down the stretch and dominated the championship rounds against the champion. He was able to eventually figure Saunders out for himself but did so too late allowing him to take the early rounds. He cannot afford to let periods of inactivity within a round be his downfall. You’d expect him to have learnt a vital lesson from the loss.
Fighters will be looking at his loss to Saunders and seeing a blueprint for beating him. A sharp jab combined with fleet of foot and high intensity tempo game plan. However Chudinov is not a slick skilled southpaw like Saunders and certainly on paper has an easier style for Eubank to face. He looks a slower more static target which should make it easier for Eubank to find his range and land cleanly. Chudinov packs decent power but his lack of hand speed is likely to mean that he will find it hard to land.
The 25-year old from Brighton has great potential but is not refined to the finished article yet. The fact that he is fighting to a very good standard yet has so much more to work on is a positive for him. However the very best fighters in the division won’t give him the time that he often wants and bearing in mind he’s only a couple of fights from facing the best names, he will have to learn faster.
A victory will prove that he can bounce back from a loss although few are in doubt that he will have the necessary resolve to do just that. He is the all-round better boxer and for once is not the man with the least experience; he has had more pro fights than the Russian. Dmitry ‘the night wolf’ Chudinov has already expressed his desire to take the Eubank scalp believing that it will boost his profile in his native Russia. That extra cause to fight for could help him to raise his performance level although Eubank Jr should have enough within his locker to cope with that.
Eubank Jr: W18 KO13 L1 KO0 KO%68.42
Chudinov: W14 KO9 L0 KO0 KO% 56.25