Abass Baraou spent years looking for a real fight. In March, he found one. Barou was matched with Sam Eggington for the vacant European super welterweight title. 

Those who have spent years touting the 29-year-old German as a potentially special talent probably envisioned him announcing himself with a flawless boxing display against the thrill a minute Eggington. Baraou had other ideas.

The former European amateur champion wanted – and more so needed – to show that as well as possessing the technical ability to thrive at the highest level, he is also physically and mentally tough enough for the tests yet to come. 

It wasn’t easy, but Baraou, 15-1 (9 KOs), eventually beat Eggington at his own game and became the European 154lb champion after 12 outstanding rounds. 

“It became a war because I was very emotionally invested in it. I wanted a war to prove that I’m the one for the big stage,” Baraou told BoxingScene. “I knew that Sam is a true warrior and I wanted to be tougher than him and to break him. I think I can box more technically and use my brain a lot. That’s what I took back into the gym and I will bring it to the next fight. I know that if that doesn’t work, I can throw it away and go all in.

“That’s what I’ve missed. I didn’t have a hard, good brawl like this in years. I love it and I needed it. I needed it also for my ego.”

Winning the European title had been a long-term ambition of Baraou and one he held onto during a frustrating three year period following his split decision loss to Jack Culcay in August 2020. Baraou endured long spells of frustration and inactivity as he looked for a way back into the mix. When he got back to the dressing room after beating Eggington and looked down at the prestigious blue and gold belt, the sense of relief and accomplishment washed over him. 

“I felt incredible. There is a lot to the whole story. I became the European champion as an amateur and to also do it as a pro was a big milestone for me,” he said. “Add the inactivity of the past years and overcoming all of that and sticking to my goal of becoming the European champion means a lot. I was emotional. I was very thankful for the team I have behind me and the people who were there with me. It was a special night.”

Momentum is key in boxing and there is the feeling that Abass is beginning to build up a head of steam. He was quickly back in the gym following the fight with Eggington and Saturday night’s European title defence against Wythenshawe’s Macaulay McGowan, 20-4-2 (5 KOs), in Bolton will be his third appearance in six months. 

McGowan's record may look patchy, but the 29-year-old is happy in his work and still appears to be improving. Last year he was forced to settle for a draw after appearing to outbox the unbeaten Farrhad Saad in Paris and when he came out on the wrong end of a split decision to current European middleweight champion, Tyler Denny, two months later, the feeling in his team was that it was a fight he had allowed to slip away. He has stayed busy since and goes into the biggest night of his career on the back of three wins and at his ideal weight.

“I want to stay as active as possible. I’m looking for the big fights. I’ve got the momentum now and I don’t want to waste it. I want to take my career to the top and I’ll do anything for that,” Baraou said. 

“I hadn’t heard of him [McGowan] before. I looked him up and I know he’s a tough guy and a tough challenger. I watched a few of his fights and we are well prepared for him. I watched the fight against Sergio Martinez and his latest one.

“I think he will try his best to win. That will make a great fight. We’ve prepared for him and I’m ready for anything he can bring on. I like that he’s motivated. That means that we will have a good fight.”

As well as holding the important European title, Baraou also carries high rankings with the WBA and WBC. There is no shortage of well known, ambitious European fighters looking for a route into title contention at 154lbs but despite the entertaining nature of his win over Eggington and his deal with Wasserman providing him with some promotional and broadcasting clout, Abass still hasn’t heard his name called out very often.

After spending so long on the outside looking in, Baraou isn’t worrying. He is happy to hold a big piece of the puzzle and is confident that his time will come. 

“It’s leading the way and I think we’re on a good course. Macaulay is a guy you have to beat and a good name to have on your record. We’re on a good course and I’m not disappointed at all.  The opportunities are all out there and I know I have to pass Macaulay to continue. It’s not like I’m disappointed. Everything is going to plan. I went back to training and had a great camp and I think I have good momentum. I’m happy. I’m doing what I love and I think a big opportunity will present itself very soon.”