Chris Eubank Jr. makes his super-middleweight debut on February 4th against unheralded Australian Renold Quinlan at the Olympia in London. The bout will be aired on ITV Box Office, the British broadcaster’s new Pay-per-view service.
Quinlan has a decent looking record at 11-1 and in his last bout the 27-year-old scored a KO win over former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale. However, Geale is badly faded and there are no other recognisable names on Quinlan’s record.
In short, this is not the most progressive matchmaking from the young Eubank’s handlers.
Don’t let it fool you into thinking that the once-beaten Brighton boxer lacks ambition though.
During a recent interview with Jim Edwards of FloBoxing, Eubank said that his mission at 168lbs is title-unification, no surprises there, so he is interested in fights with all the men currently carrying alphabet gold in the division. But it’s fellow Brit James Degale that seems to be foremost in his thoughts, as much for personal as for professional reasons.
“We are not friends to put it lightly,” Eubank said of his relationship with Degale. “He’s somebody that’s always been on my radar, and it all started when I went to his gym just as I was starting my professional career. We had a sparring session and I gave him a complete pasting. I beat him up and down the ring for eight rounds, and because of that, after the sparring session he basically told me to get out of his gym.”
“He was very disrespectful to me and my team because he was upset. So then I let everyone know what happened, you know? Usually, what happens in sparring, stays in the gym, but because he was disrespectful towards me I told people about it, I told them what happened. Obviously, he wasn’t happy about that and since then we haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye.”
“I know I can beat him 100 percent.”
Degale was in action at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night against fellow alphabet titlist Badou Jack. The pair, who are widely considered to be the division’s top two, waged a tremendous battle that ended in a majority draw, with one judge scoring the fight 114-112 for Degale and the other two turning in scores of 113-113.
Eubank Jr. didn’t see anything in the Olympic gold medallist’s performance that intimidated him, however. In fact, the 27-year-old tore into his countryman, suggesting that he has serious defensive shortcomings.
“DeGale is seen as one of the best, if not the best super-middleweight in the world, and I think that’s embarrassing in my opinion,” Eubank said. “As everybody saw the other night, the guy is just easy to hit.”
“He comes out after a 12-round fight and he’s got no teeth–that’s embarrassing in my opinion. You’re a world champion and you have no defense.”
The appeal of all-British showdowns fueled by deeply personal feuds has proven extremely strong in recent years. The rivalry between Carl Froch and George Groves really captured the British public’s imagination in 2013/2014, with their super-middleweight rematch in May of 2014 drawing a gargantuan crowd to Wembley(if you need to know the exact attendance, check out any Froch interview post-May 2014).
Degale and Eubank Jr. also know the power of a derby bout very well. Degale’s 2011 bout with Groves garnered plenty of attention due to the intensity of their personal feud and Eubank’s bout against Billy Joe Saunders also attracted widespread media coverage.
The kind of backstory required to turn a fight between this pair into a big event seems to be there and both are intriguing personalities with serious skills, so, watch this space.