Chris Eubank Jr is being motivated for his biggest fight against George Groves by the memory of his dream of challenging Gennady Golovkin being taken from him.
On Saturday at the Manchester Arena, Eubank Jr will face WBA super-middleweight champion Groves in their World Boxing Super Series semi-final in an occasion he hopes will compensate for that 2016 disappointment.
The 28-year-old had been expected to finally face Golovkin for the IBF, WBA, IBO and WBC middleweight titles, but Kell Brook was suddenly confirmed as the Kazakh’s shock challenger.
Since then, he has pursued a different path that has taken him up to the 168lbs division and to Groves in a higher-profile fight than any he has previously been involved in, and he is determined to seize his chance.
“It was a missed opportunity through no fault of my own,” he told Press Association Sport. “It was out of my hands: I was ready to sign, ready to fight, but Eddie Hearn gave the fight to Kell Brook.
“Now we’re in a situation where we have a mega-fight in Britain, between two Brits, two of the best super-middleweights in the world: this is the stage I’ve been dreaming about performing on for my entire career. An elite-level fight, with the whole world watching, and I’ve prepared accordingly.
“This is one of the biggest fights we’ve had in Britain for some time, and I’m not going to disappoint.
“My intention is to go there and rip that belt away from him. It’s not going to go 12 rounds: the styles we both have are too offensive. I’m going to catch him at some point, and when I catch him, he’s going to go.”
Saturday’s fight also represents the biggest Groves has been involved in since his two defeats by Carl Froch, the second of which came almost four years ago.
That he also lost in Las Vegas to the highly rated Badou Jack, in September 2015, has convinced Eubank Jr that Groves is a perennial loser at the highest level. And he believes the champion also recognises that, to an extent, and only sees their match-up as a “pay-day”.
“George is used to losing: he’s come to terms with it, he’s accepted it,” Eubank Jr said.
“That’s who he is as a fighter. He’s lost on the world stage, been definitively beaten on multiple occasions: I have not. He’s getting paid very well, and that will comfort him when he comes away with the loss.
“George has paid his dues, he’s earnt himself a world title, fought in some great fights, but this is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“This is a pay-day for him. I don’t believe he truly thinks he’s going to win, and this is his last hurrah before he sails off into retirement, so I’m going to help him buy his boat.”
– The Groves v Eubank Jr Ali Trophy semi-final on February 17 is live on ITV Box Office. It is available to buy now for £16.95. Visit itvboxoffice.com to purchase & for more information.