At the SSE Arena, London, Eubank Jr vs Blackwell was an exciting domestic meeting. Chris Eubank Jr and Nick Blackwell gave the Wembley crowd plenty to scream about during the memorable British Middleweight title bout, with Eubank out-warring his foe en route to a 10th round TKO. So, what better time is their to say: FYI, Boxing Base called it perfectly in our Eubank Jr vs Blackwell Pre-Fight Prediction. (Smug smiles without shame.)
Eubank now bulks his record to 22 wins, 1 defeat, 17 knockouts, while Blackwell falls to 19 wins, 4 defeats, 1 draw, 8 knockouts. Blackwell, who walked through walls in this encounter, was saved from his own courage by the ringside doctor after a grotesquely swollen right eye popped up during the 10th. And really, since the bout had become completely dominated by Eubank, it came as a relief to see the bout finally halted.
Blackwell may have come up short tonight, but no one can say he didn’t come to upset the odds. Did Blackwell win any rounds? No. Not on Boxing Base’s card, anyway. Some of the early stanzas were close, but the general story of this affair was that Eubank was the boss. Blackwell kept Eubank busy, catching him with a strong jab – Blackwell’s best shot – and did have his moments, managing to counter some of Eubank’s wild combinations from time to time.
But Eubank was the stronger, more elusive, and while the not the finished product, better overall fighter. And Eubank gradually became increasingly dominant as the fight wore on. Does he have vaunted power? No, but he’s no tickler exactly. Is he an exceptional finisher? No. Not yet anyway. There’s a lot to like about the guy, however, and not just the excitement he brings to his fights.
Against Blackwell, he showed some decent defense. While it’s true Eubank is often reckless during his attacks and forgets to cover up when stepping out of range, he was impressively elusive when backed up on the ropes tonight. The man also leads with accurate, crunching uppercuts. How many fighters can boast that?
Between rounds 8-10, there was an argument for the referee to stop the fight, at least from where I was sitting. Eubank’s attacks had decreased, sure, but he was landing flush with most of his shots during lengthy, unanswered combinations. That said, it’s hard to criticise the third man’s decision to not intervene; Blackwell, despite Blackwell’s busted, gushing nose, he had a tremendous chin, and was still refusing to go down.
Post fight, it was most unfortunate to see Blackwell, who had left everything in the ring, stretchered out of the arena while receiving oxygen. Those images will of course have us all wondering whether this fight should have been stopped sooner. Why Blackwell was stretchered out exactly, I’m not sure. Let’s just hope it was as a precaution given the violent nature of the bout. Our thoughts here at Boxing Base go out to him.
So what’s next for Eubank? Bigger fish at Middleweight, of course, just as long as they’re not named Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs or Peter Quillin. That’s a given, sure. A rematch with Billy Joe Saunders, who was sat ringside, would be a big sell in the UK, no doubt. Personally, I think Saunders’ style is all wrong for Eubank, and I’d be surprised if his handlers let him risk a second career defeat to that guy – even if the prize is Saunders’ WBO title).
Just for fun: What about Eubank vs David Lemieux? It won’t happen yet, granted. But man, that sounds like a hell of a fight, right? Let me know where you think Eubank should go next in the comments, plus your take on Eubank Jr vs Blackwell.