Chris Eubank Jr. advanced to the semi-final round of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament with a smashing third round knockout over previously undefeated Avni Yildirim. Eubank set the tone in the opening round when he landed a vicious uppercut that knocked his Turkish adversary to one knee. The second round was fairly even, but Eubank cranked up the juice in round three, landing a series of punches to Yildirim’s head climaxed by a terrific left uppercut that knocked Yildirim to the mat, where he lay in a heap. The referee waved it off without the formality of a count.
As the third seed in the eight-man 168-pound tourney, Eubank had his choice of the unheralded Yildirim or Rob Brant, the only U.S. fighter in the tourney. He wisely chose the Turk. With the win, Eubank keeps his lightly-regarded IBO belt and moves on the semis in the British-flavored tournament. The two remaining quarterfinal matches will be contested before the month is out. George Groves opposes Jamie Cox, his former stablemate, next week at London’s Wembley Stadium. Juergen Braehmer meets the aforementioned Brant at Kongresshalle in Schwerin, Germany, on Oct. 27.
Yildirim suffered his first defeat in his 17th pro start. Eubank, whose lone defeat was a razor-thin setback to reigning WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, improved his record to 26-1 (20) with his eighth straight win. He will need to go a ways, however, to match his namesake father. The elder Eubank participated in 24 world title fights, going 17-5-2.
Eubank was booed when he entered the ring, but was nonplussed. The main question about the unheralded Yildirim, who began his pro career as a light heavyweight, was whether he would be too physical for Eubank. But it soon became obvious that he was overmatched.
Eubank had an opportunity to fight Gennady Golovkin in September of last year, but hemmed and hawed and the assignment ultimately went to Kell Brook. With Eubank having moved up to 168 pounds, it seems doubtful that a Eubank-GGG fight will ever materialize.
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