Eubank ready for big test

Chris Eubank Junior at the weigh-in for tonight's fight in Manchester

Chris Eubank Junior at the weigh-in for tonight's fight in Manchester

First published in Sport by

Chris Eubank Junior insists he and British middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders are on a collision course.

Unbeaten Brighton prospect Eubank Jr and southpaw Saunders share the same card tonight at the Phones 4 U Stadium, Manchester, but it is the Hatfield fighter who tops the bill as he challenges for the vacant European Middleweight title against Italian Emanuele Blandamura.

Saunders’ became the headliner after Dereck Chisora pulled out of his heavyweight clash with Tyson Fury due to a damaged hand suffered in final sparring.

Saunders, 24, have been exchanging verbal blows with Eubank on social media for months, while he also laid into the son of the former world middleweight champion after he did not show up at a press call organised by promoter Frank Warren to highlight the undercard.

Saunders says he does not need a fight against Eubank Jr as he bids to become the first fighter from travelling stock to win a world title.

But Eubank Jr, who also has a 100% record albeit against lesser opponents, has got under his skin with Saunders admitting he has 30,000 fans on Twitter eager to see him give him a “hiding”.

And Eubank Jr reckons that showdown could be made in the not too distant future.

He told The Argus: “The fight is destined to happen.

“It is probably one of the biggest fights that I can think of at domestic level.”

He added: “They (his rivals) use the social media to get their 15 minutes of fame but when they get in the ring, you’ll see none of that bravado they showed on the net.

“He will be like a dog with his tail between his legs. It will be devastating.

“It is a fight that could happen in the next few months.”

Eubank Jr has also slammed Irishman Gary Spike O’Sullivan, another middleweight who has been goading him online for months in a bid to manufacture a showdown after he turned the Brighton fighter down for tonight’s show after Jez Wilson pulled out injured.

Eubank Jr, who will now fight Croatian Ivan Jukic who has a record of 19 wins and two losses, said: “Jez Wilson pulled out and offers were made to others fighters but they turned me down.

“This is a guy (O’Sullivan) who has been asking to fight me for a long, long time.

“He has been saying things on Twitter and Facebook like he will fight me anywhere, anytime and he’d come round my house to fight me.

“He was offered the fight and he turned it down because he had a fight a month later.

“That is a pretty pathetic and poor excuse.

“There is nobody in the country in he could fight that could have given him the same notoriety as fighting me and he turned it down.

“A month is a month and he could have fought again in a month unless he got knocked out – and that’s maybe why he did not want it really.

“That fight will happen, though, if not after this one but the one after that.

“And like I’ve said before, these fighters should be careful what they wish for.

“These people use Twitter and Facebook to portray themselves as something they are not.

“I know deep down that he does not want to fight me or he would have done everything he could to get it on.”

Tonight’s fight is Eubank Jr’s first ten-rounder but he wants the job done quick as he targets a ninth successive win inside the distance.

He said: “It will be short and sweet. As they say, you don’t get paid overtime.

“The kind of mood I am in, I would not expect it to go past the first round.”

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