This post originally appeared in Steve Wellings’ Substack
For Chris Eubank Jr the motivation for success was already framed in his mind. Proving those wrong who thought his best days had come and gone. Showing the doubters that at 33 years of age, coming off the back of a damaging knockout loss, coupled with a battle to contain his weight, he was still a live dog and bonafide pay-per-view star.
Of course, making weight has never been an issue for a gym rat like Chris. Stripping it off to such a degree, after his bout with Conor Benn was dramatically iced last October, left an emaciated version of the Brighton man who suffered greatly in January when Liam Smith surprisingly bludgeoned him in four rounds.
Jeered to the ring in their rematch, gladly assuming the familiar role of pantomime villain, Eubank looked sharp from the off, dropping Smith in round four, widening the points gap in the first third of the bout.
Prior to his trip to the canvas, Smith stumbled back to the corner in between rounds and told head trainer Joe McNally that he had rolled his ankle. Unable to apply any real pressure to the legs as a consequence, Smith’s output began to resemble David Haye’s efforts against Tony Bellew when Haye fought on despite his obvious lack of mobility.
Eubank was landing effective body shots, as a distensible left jab and sneaky uppercuts found Smith’s face with alarming regularity. It later became clear that the lacklustre Scouser had shifted a mammoth 42 pounds to get down to the weight.
This was Eubank’s first fight under the watchful eye of new trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre, who is very much flavour of the month after guiding Terence Crawford to a generation-defining victory over Errol Spence in July.
Previously, Eubank had set up shop with Roy Jones Jr. By design, the Brighton man then adopted a more economical posing style, trying too hard to emulate the genius that was prime Jones. Reverting back to the high-energy, persistent output approach of the early years seemed to serve the former IBO champ better in this outing.
Having put Liam down in the fourth, Eubank let go with a cavalcade of shots in round five, some of which landed, some that didn’t. Always in great condition, willing to set a ferocious pace, Eubank had put a lot into the first six rounds. Staggering around, attempting to maintain a compact shell for counter shots, Smith was unable to make any headway as the imbalanced spectacle continued.
Described later as a warrior by the winner, Smith fiddled his way through to the 10th before the bout mercifully ended. Eubank stated that he was open to a trilogy decider, but given the cut, injuries and knockdowns, this felt pretty conclusive despite the fact their meetings are now one apiece.
In keeping with his strategy of fighting names, regardless of their current standing, Eubank is linked with Gennady Golovkin (who he called out), Kell Brook and, of course, Conor Benn.
“I had to fight some demons, a lot of things to prove, a lot of people saying I don’t have it any more,” Eubank told reporters after the bout.
There was mixed action on the undercard as super-lightweight prospect Adam Azim extended his slate to 9-0 with a 10-round points win over Ukrainian Aram Faniian. It was the second time in succession that 21-year-old Azim had gone that distance, this time against a cagey opponent who offered a different look for the KO artist to deal with.
Now campaigning as a pro contender, Olympic bronze medal winner Frazer Clarke forced Dave Allen to retire after round six, with the loser citing a perforated eardrum. Allen arrived in less than stellar shape, yet Clarke laboured to put him away.
‘KING’ LYNDON ARTHUR BODIES SUAREZ FOR IBO CROWN
A week after the low blow controversy of Usyk vs. Dubois, Manchester’s own Lyndon Arthur landed his body shot in exactly the right place to defeat unheralded Argentine Braian Suarez.
Arthur started fast but increasingly struggled to block right hands to both head and body as Suarez steadily grew in confidence. Dropped in the fourth and hurt again at the end of the following session, Arthur was lucky that his stressful moments came right before the bell.
It was a nice domestic antidote to some of the snoozers Sky served up the following night on their pay-per-view show. Promoter Kalle Sauerland hasn’t always delivered on these Friday night events, but this felt a lot more like the spirit of Mick Hennessy.
That spirit seeped into the fight after Arthur’s main event. Samuel Antwi scored a dramatic stoppage in the final moments of his British title fight with Mason Cartwright. It was a competitive affair between two well-matched super-welterweights. Antwi landed a quality salvo that froze his opponent in time and provided a dramatic climax.
CANELO VS. CHARLO SUPPORTED BY STRONG PBC UNDERCARD
Canelo’s leftfield clash with Jermell Charlo is just weeks away and the PBC have arranged a really nice-looking undercard to complement it. Rising 22-year-old prospect Jesus Ramos spearheads the charge with a 12-rounder against Erickson Lubin. It wasn’t long ago that Lubin was an undefeated starlet expected to achieve great things himself. After suffering a first-round blitz at the fists of headliner Charlo, ‘The Hammer’ had his face reconstructed by Sebastian Fundora in an exciting battle that left his career in need of revitalisation.
Lubin now finds himself on the B-side of the card, hoping to use Ramos as a shortcut back to the top. Ramos has 20 wins, with 16 coming by KO. He towered over Joey Spencer in their recent fight, but Lubin’s size and southpaw stance will provide some stylistic issues for Ramos to solve. A perfect blend in this crossroads encounter.
Deformed: Lubin’s face was rearranged by Fundora (Photo – Mirror)
Competing for the first time since his April 2022 unification fight with Errol Spence, Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas is matched in a welterweight Interim bout. Mario Barrios is an opponent who could really do with a high-profile win after his pelting by Gervonta Davis and loss to the lesser-spotted Keith Thurman.
Making up the televised portion of this pay-per-view is a fight that could potentially explode into life very quickly. Elijah Garcia burst on to the scene earlier this year by knocking out fellow unbeaten contender Amilcar Vidal in California. The tall Phoenix southpaw followed that up with a points win over Kevin Salgado on the Tank-Garcia undercard. Salgado is tricky, and it turned out to be a tougher assignment than expected for Garcia, who improved to 15-0 that night.
There’s not much trickiness about Jose Armando Resendiz. The Mexican put the final nail in the career of Jarrett Hurd, busting open his lip and overwhelming the former unified champion with activity. Resendiz has hooked up with Manny Robles and suits middleweight better than 168. Jose can bang a bit, so this promises to be a cracker.
FROM THE ARCHIVE – ‘NEW BEGINNING’ FOR JAMIE CONLAN IN DUBLIN
Despite his defeat in May to Luis Alberto Lopez, the main name in Irish boxing right now is Michael Conlan. However, before Michael became an amateur standout and ascended in the pro game, his older brother Jamie had established himself as the ultimate blood and guts warrior. Belfast’s answer to Arturo Gatti is no understatement. Whenever I bumped into Jamie at the recent Falls Park show, he reminded me how I was the first person to properly interview him when he turned over from the amateur code.
I was looking through some old articles recently and found one from 4th July 2015 when Jamie was preparing to face an unknown Mexican in Dublin. It was the height of the MTK (possibly still MGM Marbella) days and optimism was at a peak. After the bout, we all huddled together in the National Stadium gym to interview a battered and bruised Conlan after 10 rounds of intense combat. I even found myself shoulder to shoulder with influential advisor of the day, Daniel Kinahan. Whatever happened to him?
As it turned out, Conlan’s war with Granados was epic. Vintage referee Mickey Vann was the third man, adding an extra sprinkle of celebrity stardust. Conlan was buzzed multiple times, including two knockdowns in a torrid seventh round, but battled back to remain on a world title path that led to an ill-fated shot at Jerwin Ancajas (below).
Photo Credit – ESPN
Here is the preview piece for the Granados fight in full:
Belfast boxer Jamie Conlan is ready to open a new chapter in his career when he headlines Frank Warren’s ‘New Beginning’ show in Dublin tonight. A successful defence of the WBO Inter-Continental super-flyweight title against Mexico’s Junior Granados will push Conlan closer to a world title shot.
“These are the type of fights that I’ve always wanted, to help me break into world level,” said Conlan. “Beating Granados will show how far I am along and if I’m ready to take a step up or if I need a few more fights like this.”
After leaving long-time trainer John Breen to hook up with Danny Vaughan at the MGM Marbella gym, Jamie has been engaged in a rigid Spanish training camp to prepare him for this big opportunity which will be televised on BoxNation.
“I’ve had a great camp and been pushed to the limits, doing things I’ve never done before,” added Conlan.
“I was out in Spain for nine weeks flat-out and boxing was the first and only thing you thought about all day. It’s got me mentally as well as physically prepared and I now know what a proper camp feels like. This is the training that I want, to be away from everyone and just focused on the fight and getting my head down.”
At 28, Conlan is now approaching his peak and despite suffering some injury woes and promotional setbacks he has amassed a perfect 13-0 record. Granados turned pro at 17 and is now 13-2-1. The Mexican is a solid opponent but some suspect losses on his record suggest that Jamie will be a class above.
“I expect a really tough fight but I also expect myself to have the boxing brain to outsmart and outfight him,” asserted Conlan.
“He likes to come forward and throw a good left hook to body and head from what I’ve seen. He’s got good head movement and his defence isn’t bad either. The main things I have over him are height and weight because he’s naturally a flyweight moving up to super-fly. He has won a WBC Hispano title though so he must be doing something right in the ring.”
If Conlan manages to get past this latest test his team have set out a blueprint to help guide their man to success with more fights planned before the year’s end. Jamie, however, isn’t looking at anything beyond getting his work done at the National Stadium this evening.
“My team have given me a guide from now until Christmas and I have to follow it, starting with a good job against Granados,” he concluded.
Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre is currently the hottest trainer in world boxing, and that heat went up a notch when he tried to board a plane home after guiding Chris Eubank to victory. Turns out the former heavyweight was packing a locked and loaded weapon in his suitcase. A month of prison grub will do Brian no harm whatsoever. Terence Crawford’s coach will have a month to ruminate over his predicament while waiting for an October court date. It’s a fascinating turn of events, packed with more questions than answers at this stage.
BoMac – shooting from the hip
Derek Chisora reckons he will have one more fight and then retire. Boxers are of course free to fight on for as long as they wish and as long as a sanctioning body of some description will allow them a licence. While Chisora is not yet in Danny Williams, Evander Holyfield or late-stage James Toney territory, the amount of wars he’s engaged in over the years gives cause for concern every time he enters a ring.
Finally, on the domestic front, I mentioned on Sunday’s podcast that Florian Marku is an exciting puncher, a marketable talker and strong ticket seller who needs to be kept busier. Stevie McKenna is badgering Ben Shalom for the fight. It’s a good one that should be made next.
About Steve: Experienced boxing writer, author of 8 books and podcaster of over 400 eps. 20 years in the sport. Covered hundreds of shows for newspapers and Boxing News magazine. Chief video script writer for Motivedia channel and BN+. For enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.