Since the infamous sparring session between Chris Eubank Jr. and James DeGale 8 years ago, the pair have since traded verbal blows hoping that one day they will settle the score. That day has come as they headline the ITV Boxing PPV show tonight (23rd February) at the O2 Arena.
The highly anticipated clash has been brewing for years, with both fighter calling it a ‘Do or Die’ fight in Thursday’s final press conference.
Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21 KOs), 29, son of boxing legend and former World Champion Chris Eubank Sr., will hope he can abide by his father’s ‘Warriors Code’ and produce an upset.
It will be tough against a former two time World Champion in James DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs).
Eubank Jr’s last major outing was an unsuccessful one against George Groves last February for the WBA Super Middleweight Belt, where he was on the end of a unanimous decision loss.
Eubank’s lack of focus, slow foot movement and overall recklessness, was a major talking point amongst many.
This led to ITV Boxing pundit Naseem Hamed calling for his retirement despite Eubank only being 28 years old at that time.
It could be argued that Eubank has taken the Groves defeat onboard.
Since then, for the first time in his career, has employed a full time boxing coach in Nate Vasquez.
For a professional boxer fighting on the World level to have just employed a boxing coach seems rather bizarre.
But does this mean we will see a more mature, level headed performance from Eubank Jr., or will his self taught habits prevail as the fights goes on?
New beginnings or, soon to be the end?
His opponent, an Olympic gold medallist and two-time IBF Super-middleweight champion, James DeGale, has rose to the occasion many a time in his long and lustrous career.
‘Chunky’ has had stand out performances against World level opposition such as Andre Dirrell and Lucien Bute.
But many are convinced that DeGale’s best days are behind him after suffering a big defeat again Caleb Truax at the end of 2017.
He looked flat, demotivated, and slow as he took many shots from Truax then.
DeGale did redeem himself by winning the rematch in America last April.
However, the physicality of Truax still troubled DeGale, an area that Eubank excels in with his ruthless brawler like fighting style.
It seems inevitable that regardless of the outcome of tonight’s fight, DeGale will deeply consider hanging up his gloves as he approaches the back end of his career.
On the other hand, Eubank Jr. will more than likely fight again regardless of the outcome.
But one thing is for sure – if he loses, another fight on the World stage looks highly unlikely.
Needless to say, it all makes for a very interesting showdown.
Written by Jack Roffey (@JCKROFF)