When Chris Eubank Jr climbs into the ring on Saturday night to face Matt Korobov in the Showtime co-feature, the 30-year-old Brit will be making his pro debut on American soil, and looking to showcase his skills for a whole new audience.
“I’ve been dreaming about coming here and fighting in the U.S. since I was a kid,” the second generation fighter said at a media workout. “You dream about fighting where all your favorite fighters came to perform on the big stage. To do it here in New York is special. It’s an iconic place and so many great world champions have come from here.”
Eubank (28-2, 21 KO) being in the States is not the only change from his normal, at least his recent normal — the fighter will be coming back down to middleweight after a six-fight stint at 168 pounds, during which he beat Arthur Abraham, Avni Yildirim, and James DeGale, but did suffer a defeat to George Groves in Feb. 2018.
It’s worth wondering, surely, if Eubank moving back down might be a problem, but he says he’s feeling good and that he was fighting small at 168.
“I’m not a true super middleweight so I’m excited to be fighting at 160 pounds,” he said. “I’m going to be a beast. I’m going to be an absolute savage. The power and the speed is going to really shine through against guys my own size.
“Anyone with a belt in the middleweight division, I’m coming for them. If that means (Jermall) Charlo, I’ll be more than happy to get in there with him.
Charlo, of course, holds the WBC middleweight title and is in Saturday’s Showtime main event, defending against Dennis Hogan. A Charlo-Eubank fight for 2020 is something Eubank clearly wants, but he may have to do more than just win if he wants it soon. Looking impressive and exciting would certainly help, and Eubank says that’s always his goal.
“This is not the time to go in there and coast. I’m here to make a statement. I’ve always been the type of fighter who looks to stop my opponent in spectacular fashion. This is my time to shine. Nobody is going to be able to stop me.”
Russian veteran Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KO) might have something to say about that. Korobov was once a top prospect with Top Rank, but he never did quite break through. But about a year ago, he was bumped into a main event fight against Jermall Charlo on late notice, and gave Charlo a hell of a test in defeat. Now coming off of a controversial draw with Immanuwel Aleem, Korobov is seen as a contender, but he’s also not getting younger and could use an actual win against a higher-end opponent.
“The Charlo fight put me on another level as a fighter,” Korobov said. “They’re all going to have to start looking at me as one of the best in the division. I’m excited to take advantage of my opportunity Saturday and get another big fight.”
The 36-year-old Korobov knows that there’s plenty of chatter about doing Charlo-Eubank next, but he’s confident he can beat Eubank and get a second bout with Charlo himself.
“It’s Eubank’s problem if he’s focused on getting the Jermall Charlo fight. I’m just focused on doing my job and doing my best. I’m very confident for this fight,” he said. “It makes sense to me that I’d fight Charlo next if I win. I’m definitely hoping to get that fight in 2020 but first I have to take care of Eubank.”
Saturday’s winner very well could be next for Charlo (29-0, 21 KO), assuming Charlo does win as expected, and either man would be a solid opponent for the 29-year-old titleholder, who is in need of challengers with the division’s other top names — Canelo, Golovkin, Andrade — all fighting on DAZN.