By Alexey Sukachev
Hanns-Martin-Schleyer in Stuttgart, Germany. - The quarterfinals of super middleweight division action in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) tournament continues, with International Boxing Organization (IBO) super middleweight world champion Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1, 20 KOs) demolishing previously undefeated Avni Yildirim (16-1, 10 KOs) in three rounds.
Eubank will now face the winner of next week's fight between WBA champion George Groves and undefeated Jamie Cox. That fight takes place at the SSE Arena in Wembley, London.
Eubank Jr., 28, with his father accompanying him to the ring and assisting in the corner, was rated WBC/IBF #4 and WBA #8, coming into the bout. His opponent, who had enjoyed a nice run recently and was 2-0, 1 KO, in 2017, was WBC/WBA #3, IBF #5 and WBO #7-rated fighter. The atmosphere was very tense - as always between English and Turkish fans - with a highly pro-Yildirim crowd being overheated before the fight.
With his tight guard firmly up, Yildirim started to stalk his foe, yet throwing no jabs, just marching forward, trying to corner his opponent. The flamboyant British boxer immediately answered with the specific tactics of his own: Eubank Jr. ducked low, pushed his left shoulder forward and fired huge, damaging uppercuts.
Yildirim was able to block a majority of Eubank Jr's uppercuts but threw few power shots in return. Finishing the second minute of the round with a major right uppercut, Eubank caught his Turkish opponent off-guard, and down went Yildirim to his knee - as referee Leszek Jankowiak issued a count. The challenger tried to retaliate afterwards that but had little success.
The second one was better for both fighters, which resulted in mostly a fan-friendly brawl. Both boxers traded huge body shots at the start of the round. Yildirim, 26, used his left hand to trouble Eubank Jr., who was partially unbalanced in his stance. Chris iced Avni with a couple of big uppercuts again but Yildirim took them well. Yildirim fired back with his left hand but the British bomber dealt more damage all in all during the stanza.
Both Eubank and Yildirim started the third with a bang, winging hooks, with the champion doing slightly better than his foe. A number of clinches slowed the pace but only for a moment.
Then both fighters went back to work and started to exchange hard, wicked punches in high-octane action. Eubank Jr. began it with a series of hooks, the Turk began to retaliate after he had already taken several meaningful punches. Both landed right after, and then... a monstrous left hook landed square onto the Turk's face. Yildirim went down hard, and Leszek Jankowiak immediately waved it off, not even bothering to issue a count. Yildirim was able to rise nevertheless but was visibly dazed and wobbled, proving that the Polish referee was totally right to end it. Time of the stoppage was 1:58 of the round.
Punch stats indicated that the fight, where both fighters tried to brawl on even terms, was very far from even. Eubank Jr. threw 201 shots against 91 of Yildirim, landing 59 of them versus 23 from the Turk. What punch stats fail to reflect is how dominant Eubank Jr. really was. He was never in danger of a loss, while exposing Yildirim - with his nickname "Mr. Robot" being right on point - was too slow and too robotic and the aura of danger surrounding him is no longer there.