This past Saturday, Chris Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KO’s) put on a performance of a lifetime to salvage his career. In what was seen as a do or die fight, the 29-year-old Eubank battered James Degale (25-3, 15 KO’s) over 12 rounds to become the new “IBO super middleweight champion.” A packed O2 Arena in London England saw Eubank Jr. finally rise to the occasion in the third big fight of his career.
Eubank had perviously come up short against Billy Joe Saunders and more recently against George Groves. Despite putting on a gutsy performance in the championship rounds against Groves, Eubank got widely outboxed and many decided his ceiling had been reached.
Fast forward one year, and Eubank once again had an opportunity in front of him against James Degale. He immediately played the role of the matador, stalking James Degale over the ring. A massive left hook put Degale down in Round 2 and also in Round 10. Degale attempted to box technical at times, but Eubank’s physicality was simply too much and resulted in a unanimous decision victory for Eubank.
Now off the biggest win of his career, it will be interesting to see who Eubank fights next. Here are the the best options:
Anthony Dirrell (33-1, 24 KO’s) is fresh off a technical split decision over Avni Yildirim, where he was able to capture the WBC super middleweight world title. It was a highly controversial decision, but a win is a win, and Dirrell is once again a world champion.
This fight seems likely to happen because of Eubank and Dirrell’s connection with Premier Boxing Champions and Al Haymon. It is also interesting to note that Eubank also faced Yildirim in the World Boxing Super Series and completely obliterated him. Dirrell struggled much more, but as the saying goes, ‘styles makes fights.’ Eubank would probably be the favorite and this fight would offer him the biggest opportunity to become a legitimate world champ (Sorry IBO).
Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 KO’s) recently captured the IBF super middleweight title when he put on the performance of his life against Jose Uzcategui. Uzcategui was the favorite going into the fight but Plant’s defensive boxing ability, counter punching, and tenacity in the later rounds proved to be too much for the Venezuelan. Plant is easily a top 3 fighter at super middleweight, and some might even argue he is the best.
Plant is also a PBC fighter, which would make his fight with Eubank much easier to make. He would also be a big favorite over Eubank. Movement, defensive ability, and counter punching have proven to be qualities Eubank struggles against and Plant has these in abundance. Regardless, the fight would prove to be a big opportunity for both fighters with Eubank having the chance to become a legit world champion and Plant having the chance to add a big name to his resume.
Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KO’s) is currently the WBA super middleweight champion and won the World Boxing Super Series 2018 when he knocked out George Groves in the finals. Smith is widely considered the best super middleweight on the planet and as a fellow Brit, a fight with Chris Eubank Jr. would be a huge fight in England.
Back in September, there was a chance that Smith and Eubank would face each other in the finals of the WBSS due to Groves injuring his shoulder in the semis. Groves eventually recovered and was able to compete. Nonetheless, this is a fight that would have everyone ‘buzzing’ in the U.K. However, unlike the previous two options, Smith is not a PBC fighter. This would undoubtedly make the fight harder to make, but if there is enough demand it will get done.
Smith would have to be considered as a big favorite due to his success over tough opposition and his overall size. Standing a 6’3, Smith is absolutely enormous for the division and could possibly to move to light heavyweight in the near future. Eubank Jr. is an average sized middleweight and tends to give up size at super middleweight. Still, it would be yet another opportunity for Eubank Jr. to become a world champion and a victory would immediately place him as one of the best super middleweights in the world.
Eubank Jr. was able to salvage his career with his best performance yet. He set himself up for a huge fight next and there are numerous options. Apart from the fighters mentioned in this article, possible fights with Jermall Charlo, Joseph Benavidez Jr. would be highly publicized. Wildcard fights with Canelo, Jacobs, Andrade and Gennady Golovkin are theoretically possible as well. It remains to be seen whether Eubank is able to cement himself as one of the best fighters in the world, or if the Degale victory proves to be a fluke.