Mullingar super middleweight JJ McDonagh [16(8)-4(1)] has secured a massive fight with Chris Eubank Jr on the George Groves vs Callum Smith World Boxing Super Series undercard in Saudi Arabia next Friday – and Slater is bemused but excited that the controversial star’s people have agreed to the fight.
The older of two Irish champion boxing brothers’ record may not look impressive in terms of elite level at first glance. He certainly goes in as a massive underdog against a fighter who challenged for world honours last time out and has names like Gary O’Sullivan and Arthur Abraham on his record.
However, Slater, who works alongside Assassin boss man Kaz Evans, believes stylistically the 32-year-old Irish super middleweight is all wrong for the vocal Brighton fighter – who he sparred with last year.
Slater believes Eubank Jr [26(20)-2(0)] has been matched well but, as he did against Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves, could struggle against a fighter who doesn’t come on to him trying to press the fight.
“In terms of the fights itself, you’ve to question why they’ve decided to fight JJ,” Slater told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I do believe JJ can be all wrong for him. Eubank’s best wins have come against guys who have been stylistically perfect for him; he’s been matched well.”
Team McDonagh also take solace in the fact their man has upset previous. All but dragged in from the pub to face light heavyweight prospect Jake Ball on a Matchroom show in late 2016, the southpaw, whose most recent defeat was to Roy Sheehan in Last Man Standing, produced an emphatic first round knockout.
While that form of victory wasn’t predicted by Slater, he has an air of confidence about him ahead of their trip to Jeddah.
“Undoubtedly Eubank will be the favourite, but so was Jake Ball. JJ knows exactly what he has to do, and if he can pull it off, he changes his life forever.”
Victory on such against such a name and on such a platform would certainly change the two time Irish champions life and career and Slater is hopeful knowing what a win could do will motivate McDonagh to produce a career-best performance.
“JJ gets a huge opportunity to change his life in what is a very tough but winnable fight. It’s amazing opportunity for him to showcase his boxing ability on ITV PPV and against a huge name.”
“It’s a once in a life time experience for a boxer to perform on such a big stage and over in Saudi Arabia.”