By Tris Dixon
Chris Eubank Jnr stamped his ticket to ride in the World Boxing Super Series with a wide and resounding victory over Arthur Abraham at Wembley Arena.
Scorecards of 118-110 (twice) and 120-108 underlined the dominance of youth as Eubank made the maiden defence of his lightly-regarded IBO super-middleweight title.
“He was the most durable guy I’ve faced,” admitted Eubank Jnr, now 25-1 (19). “He hasn’t been stopped for a reason. I hit him with every punch in the book. I know I hurt him, I hurt him bad but I couldn’t get him out of there. Still, the statement was made. I shut this guy out. He’s a world level fighter and he didn’t win a round against me. I’m happy with the performance.”
He said he stepped off the gas in the final rounds heading into the WBSS as he did not want to run the risk of getting cut or injured.
Abraham, as Abraham does, held his hands high cupping his temples and walking forwards. Eubank, however, attacked round the side and came up from underneath with uppercuts. Abraham was looking slow. He was looking one-dimensional. Worse, he was looking old. After six minutes of action his face was red and puffy.
His middleweight glory days of 2006-2008 felt like a long, long time away.
Eubank did not care. He moved round Abraham like he was a heavybag. He worked round the gloves and pierced that traditionally tight guard with uppercuts. There was blood from Abraham’s nose. The old champion was not throwing much, but Eubank was alert to any danger and made him miss by some way each time. That was until Abraham enjoyed momentary success near the end of the third. The Armenian-born Abraham scored well and Eubank could only bullishly drop his hands and encourage him to try again.
Eubank was out of the blocks quickly in round four, ripping uppercuts through the middle with Abraham now beckoning him in for more. Was there a danger that Eubank could punch himself out?
Abraham had gone the distance 19 times, Eubank had lost his only previous 12-rounder to Billy Joe Saunders. Abraham tried coming on towards the end of the session, clubbing away with both hands but failing to land anything meaningful.
Still, he started round five with a booming left into Eubank’s side but the son of the former middleweight and super-middleweight champion enjoyed stringing together fast and short combinations, cutting through Abraham’s defence with clusters.
Near the end of the sixth, Abraham caught Eubank with a couple of big rights. They seemed to slow the Englishman though he responded by dropping his hands and swinging hard leather at Abraham.
“Relax,” said Chris Eubank Snr. “Play with him.”
Eubank Jnr started to go through the gears to commence the seventh. Abraham was under fire for almost all of the first minute. Abraham landed a clean left hook, Eubank mugged to the audience and then shot back. It was not flawless from Eubank, but it was, indeed, watchable. Eubank was trying to put on a show.
Abraham’s head was jolted back by an uppercut and a jab in round eight but he did not appear threatened. He reverted to his shell and Eubank again helped himself to big shots around the guard as the time ticked by.
The ninth followed suit. Eubank dazzled in spurts but could not afford to do it for a full three minutes for fear of punching himself out. Not much came back his way. Eubank took much of the 10th off, clowning with his hands down, but he identified Abraham’s body as the target of his attack in round 11. After Abraham swung and connected with a left hand he was made to pay with Eubank pouring the pressure back on.
The last round was untidy. Abraham was looking to survive while Eubank did not try to turn the screws.
It was a clear, decisive victory for Eubank, the most impressive of his career to date and it likely spells the end of Abraham’s time at boxing’s top table. He’s now 37 and lost for the sixth time against 46 wins.
Eubank rolls onto the World Boxing Super Series where he will face Turkey’s Avni Yildrim later this year. Promoter Kalle Sauerland said a date and venue would be announced in a couple of weeks.