This coming Saturday night Chris Eubank Jr. will challenge battle-tested 25-year-old Nick Blackwell for his British middleweight title.
It will be Eubank’s second attempt at the belt, having previously lost out to bitter rival Billy Joe Saunders back in November 2014, in a fight that was also for the Commonwealth and European straps.
Since then Eubank has notched 3 rehabilitative wins against a decent level of opposition. In his first fight after the Saunders loss, Eubank battered a game Dmitry Chudinov to an impressive 12th round stoppage. It was the Russian fighter’s first professional defeat. Most recently, he put a similarly brutal beating on the hard-headed Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, forcing the Irishman’s corner to halt proceedings after 7 completed rounds.
In the meantime, Saunders has progressed to world-level, capturing an alphabet title in December when he won a split decision over Andy Lee in Manchester.
If both men continue to win, a rematch down the line would likely do huge business in the U.K.
However, Saunders believes that the level at which Eubank is scheduled to compete this weekend is where he belongs.
“Eubank says that going for the British title is something that he wants to do,” Saunders told BoxingScene. “But I think that he knows in his own mind and in his own head that he is not ready for a rematch with me”.
“He can’t step up to my level, he’s a British level fighter. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think he’ll ever win a world title”.
Saunders, who fights the Ukraine’s Max Bursak in April, doesn’t seem particularly concerned about Eubank’s career trajectory however, as he see’s plenty of opportunity at 160lbs. “I’ve got more options than just Chris Eubank; I’ve got 3 or 4 options,” said the former Olympian.
In the long-term though, Saunders has his eye on one particular fight, against the division’s most terrifying resident.
“At the end of the day, everyone knows I’m chasing a big fight with [Gennady] Golovkin. That’s a big money fight and I want to test myself against the very best to see how good I am”.
It wasn’t the first time that such talk had emerged from the Saunders camp, as earlier in the month, the high-flying middleweight’s promoter, Frank Warren, revealed that the Hatfield native was urging him to set up a showdown with the concrete-fisted Golovkin.
The talk coming in the opposite direction, however, isn’t positive.
Golovkin, who is set to face Dominic Wade on April 23rd, recently spoke to World Boxing News and was quick to shoot down the idea of a fight with Saunders, claiming his sights were set on a mega-bout with lineal middleweight champion Saul Alvarez.
“It’s a joke for Billy Joe Saunders to want to face me right after we announced this fight[the Wade fight], he’s not serious,” said ‘GGG’.
“I want to fight Canelo[Alvarez] and many big fights, big shows, but it’s not frustrating for me to face other fighters”.