By Ian S Palmer
IBO Super Middleweight Champion Chris Eubank Jr. of England will be defending his title against former three-time, two-division world champ Arthur Abraham of Armenia at the SSE Wembley Arena in London, England this Saturday, July 15th. The 12-round bout can be seen on pay-per-view in the U.S. while British fans can catch the action live on ITV Box Office pay-per-view. In addition, fans in Canada can see the bout on Super Channel. Abraham last fought in April when he beat Robin Krasniqi by 12-round unanimous decision while Eubank’s last outing was a 10th-round TKO over Renold Quinlan of Australia in February for the IBO title.
The 27-year-old Eubank will enter the ring with an impressive record of 24-1 with 19 Kos to his name, but he’s yet to face an elite opponent. That will all change this Saturday though. Eubank has the hometown advantage as well as good power and boxing skills, However, they still weren’t enough to beat Billy Joe Saunders in November of 2014 as he dropped a 12-round split decision to the current WBO World Middleweight Champion for his only career loss.
Eubank enters the contest with 142 rounds of experience since turning pro in 2011. He’s faced mainly Grade B opponents and has never fought outside of his homeland. At this stage of his career he had to step up his level of opponent if he hopes to become a respected world champion like his father was. Fans were getting tired of Eubank facing less than stellar opponents other than Saunders as there was no reason for it since he possesses the skills and power to be competitive against world-class boxers.
Eubank’s list of opponents also includes Nick Blackwell, Dmitri Chudinov, Gary O’Sullivan, Bradley Price and a few others most boxing fans have never heard of. This time he’s taking on a former world champ, but it appears Eubank is catching him at the right time since Abraham is now in the twilight of his career at the age of 37. Still, he’s a worthy opponent and a step up in class over the majority of Eubank’s previous opponents.
Eubank stands 5-feet-11-inches tall with a 72.5-inch reach and has displayed impressive power up to now with a current knockout ratio of 76 per cent. He’s been wobbled a couple of times in the ring, but also has a solid chin. He’s at his best when he overwhelms his opponent with his relentless punching and is hard t keep at bay because of it. Eubank isn’t the hardest guy to hit if he gets goaded into a slugfest, but most boxers prefer not to go toe-to-toe with him.
Former middleweight and super middleweight champ Abraham was born in Armenia, but fights out of Germany. He lost his WBO super Middleweight Title to Gilberto Ramirez last year after defending it five times and his hoping to eventually meet him in a rematch. Abraham climbs into the ring with a mark of 46-5 with 30 Kos to his name. He has good power with a knockout ratio of 59 per cent, but doesn’t have one-punch knockout devastation in his fists.
Abraham has the edge in experience as he’s fought numerous world title bouts and has boxed 401 rounds since turning pro in 2003. He’s at a disadvantage when it comes to size though as he’s 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 72-inch reach. He also has a solid chin as he’s been stopped just once and is still a dependable and durable boxer. He’s taken on the likes of Martin Murray, Robert Stieglitz, Howard Eastman, Kingsley Ikeke, Shannon Taylor, Kofi Jantuah, Edison Miranda, Raul Marquez, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward.
Besides losing to Ramirez last year, Abraham’s losses were to Stieglitz, Ward, Froch and Dirrell. Ward and Froch decisioned him while Abraham was disqualified in the last round against Dirrell and Stieglitz beat him by won by fourth-round TKO in 2013. Abraham used to have quite a bit of power, but has scored just two stoppages in his last 12 fights dating back to 2012. Abraham is also a former IBF Middleweight Champion who made 10 defences before moving up in weight to the 168 lb. division.
He took the WBO Super Middleweight crown in 2012 from Stieglitz, but lost the belt in a rematch the next year when the fight was stopped in the fourth round due to cuts. Abraham then took the title back from him via a split decision in 2014. Ramirez showed the boxing world that mobility and accurate counterpunching is the way to beat Abraham, but Eubank will find it’s not that going to be that easy to pull off if he tries the same tactics.
Abraham isn’t a huge puncher anymore, but is still dangerous even though his skills are fading. He likes to work his way inside and dig to the body, but struggles sometime when on the back foot. Eubank is effective when moving forward and this combination should lead to a Eubank victory in a pretty exciting fight.