Chris Eubank Jr
Record: 25-1 (19 KO) ... Streak: W7 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 9-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'11" / 72½" ... Age: 28
Thoughts: A polarizing figure, much like his father was, Chris Eubank Jr is flashy, style over substance at times, but can fight. His World Boxing Super Series eliminator, such as it were, was a win over Arthur Abraham on July 15 at Wembley Arena, a fight that on paper was tougher than some inside the tournament. Abraham, after all, is a former titleholder at 160 and 168, long a relevant fighter in the sport.
But styles make fights. We know that. And the in-the-ring story of Eubank-Abraham went exactly as most of us expected. There’s plenty of film on Abraham, and good fighters know how to beat him at this point. Eubank was always going to be too athletic and too active for Abraham, and Abraham, who fights one way and knows no other way to fight, was always going to stand there and lose every round.
Eubank’s other win this year, a February defeat of Renold Quinlan in his move to 168, wasn’t much to get excited about, but he did his job. Those wins came after a run at 160 where he beat Dmitry Chudinov, Tony Jeter, Nick Blackwell, and Tom Doran, the last two British title fights. All of that followed his 2014 loss to Billy Joe Saunders, a good fight where an unpolished Eubank pushed Saunders to the limit, and probably got better in defeat.
Personally, I constantly feel as if there’s something missing from Eubank performances as far as him becoming an elite fighter, but he’s so fun to watch, with his strengths and his flaws, that I really don’t care. He’s the sort of character and fighter that makes the sport more enjoyable, love him or hate him, and he can fight. He’s not just some punk who talks a lot and then can’t perform when the bell rings.
Record: 16-0 (10 KO) ... Streak: W16 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'11" / 70" ... Age: 26
Thoughts: Yildirim, an Ahmet Ohner fighter from Sivas, Turkey, is not easy to predict for this fight, but I’ll say this: I think it’s worth tuning in to see what he’s got.
We know Eubank is a flawed fighter. Very entertaining, charismatic, aggressive, and has natural talent, yes, but flawed. If Yildirim turns out to be a real contender at 168, he could be trouble for the second-generation star. If not, he’ll probably get overwhelmed. But, again: worth finding out.
Yildirim has beaten fighters you’ve heard of, but to say he has “quality wins” would probably be a bit of a stretch. He beat Glen Johnson in 2015, when Johnson was 46 years old and had become little more than a veteran stepping stone. That loss, which capped a three-fight losing streak, was Johnson’s last — at least to date.
Yildirim also has wins over Jackson Junior, Aaron Pryor Jr, Schiller Hyppolite, and most recently, Marco Antonio Periban. He beat Periban by clear decision on May 13, on the road in Mexico, for what was probably his best win.
So Eubank, to say the least, is a step up. Yildirim is rugged and has the look and feel of a tough fighter, and he’s got some pop, and he can fight. But we’re considering that only at the levels he’s been at to date. Eubank is, at the very least, one step up from where he’s been.
Matchup Grade: anywhere from C- to B-. Like my Crolla-Burns grade, I’m stuck a little between what this could be and what it might be. There’s some footage of Yildirim, you can see him, but you never really know how a fighter will respond to a jump in level until it’s over and done with. Eubank might trounce him. Yildirim might be a really tough opponent. I’m not sure. But, again, AGAIN: I think this is one worth tuning in to find out, and Eubank is never boring.