Alan Dawson – London
Chris Eubank Jr extended his undefeated run as a professional on Saturday, December 1 at the Odyssey Arena with a referee’s decision verdict over a tough Bradley Pryce. Eubank Jr showed good reflexes, decent defence and fast hands. The Brighton-born technical boxer emerged unblemished from the fight and will likely stay busy by fighting again next week, at the Bonus Arena in Hull.
Official verdict: Eubank Jr by referee’s decision (80-73).
“I’m the real deal,” Eubank Jr asserted to Channel 5. “Sure I can look for the knockout… the haymakers. But I want to learn and just get rounds under my belt.”
Chris Eubank Jr has not been mollycoddled as a professional. No. Since abandoning the headgear and fighting for pay, Eubank Jr went skipped four round fights and straight into six round tests. Against cage fighters. Against undefeated Scotsmen. Against durable journeymen and now, this weekend in Northern Ireland, against a domestic-level name with 33 victories recorded on his ledger.
In a similar fashion as to how he approached the aforementioned tasks, Eubank Jr – with Ronnie Davis in his corner – went about his business calmly in the opening stanza. The 23-year-old, easily one of Britain’s most famous prospects (undeniably because of his famous father, but also because of his skill-set), used his athleticism to deny Pryce passage to his flesh while pumping out single-fire artillery.
Eubank Jr double-jabbed well in the second round. He used canny movement in order to keep Pryce off of him and, in between motioning around the ring, landed a left glove on his chin. To vary his jabbing attack, Eubank Jr added uppercuts and straight rights, however, his two and three punch combinations were seldom used, despite their fast and ferocious success.
With the knowledge that he needed to up his output in order to win rounds, Pryce looked to slip the jab and counter in the third, however, Eubank Jr responded well and began to flurry with increased regularity. For the majority of the round, though, Eubank Jr’s pace slowed and thus allowed Pryce to bang his way into contention for points. If Pryce tied the third, he surely had a shout for the fourth as he staggered Eubank Jr with his punch of the night and wisely focused attention to his enemy’s body.
Eubank Jr reasserted his authority in round five and, in the sixth, had enough swag to showboat. In the seventh stanza, Eubank Jr posed in a variety of styles. With a left arm guarding his body he had clearly been inspired by Floyd Mayweather Jr’s defence system. And, in a slow-motion style stalk attack, he may have been watching a documentary where a shoulder-hunched tiger was ready to attack.
The boy clearly is a fine technician… especially for a fighter in just his eighth fight, yet there is still room for improvement when it comes to a: his power and b: his vulnerability in defending his body (he seemed to leak more shots to the midsection than he did the mush). His cockiness, while entertaining…maybe polarising… also got the better of him in the climactic round as, while he was goading and waving Pryce onto him, he ate a number of pounding punches.
“I saw progression,” said Chris Eubank Sr. “Absolutely! He is schooling them [sparring partners] in the gymnasium. He really is.”
The margin of the referee’s decision was generous to Eubank Jr but the actual result was just.