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Billy Joe Saunders gets split decision over Chris Eubank Jr

Billy Joe Saunders was tested, and Chris Eubank Jr proved his mettle in a grueling fight.

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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

In a fight that more or less lived up to the hype and provided some compelling drama, Billy Joe Saunders edged out Chris Eubank Jr over 12 rounds, retaining his European, British, and Commonwealth middleweight titles on split decision scores of 115-113, 115-114, and 113-116.

BLH had it 115-113 for Saunders.

Saunders (21-0, 11 KO) banked the first five rounds on our scorecard, with Eubank (18-1, 13 KO) coming on strong after that. Eubank took the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds on our card, with Saunders then rebounding to win two more rounds, followed by a KO-seeking Eubank taking the last two. It was an up-and-down, back-and-forth fight, which Saunders ultimately won in the early rounds.

Eubank looked a bit outclassed in terms of schooling and technique, but he was a determined battler, too, and once he started landing some of his wild uppercuts, he was in business. Saunders showed a great chin and absorbed some heavy shots, and held on for a true distance win in what became a pretty grueling fight.

"He's better than what I thought. He was a bit too slow in the early rounds. I knew his game plan was to push me in the last six," Saunders said after the fight. "I'm only 25, he's only 25. Next stop is the WBO world title. I think I've got a little bit of learning left to do yet, but I'm ready for a world title."

Eubank, of course, thought he deserved the nod, but didn't display sour grapes. "It was close. I thought I won. I've got a good engine. I'm back in the gym title. I'm coming for the British title again. I hope we can do a rematch ASAP. I thought I won."

As for a rematch, Saunders had an idea, presented respectfully: "When I'm world champion, I'll gladly give you first shot."

How did you score the fight, and how impressed were you with the fighters?

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