Before The First Bell: UK Boxing Returns This Weekend
By Lucy McDonald
Following the decision of the British Boxing Board of Control to suspend all boxing events in January due to the Omicron variant, the first month of the year has lasted longer than ever before for us fight fans. Blissfully, the wait is nearly over.
To kick-start what is shaping up to be a big year in the sport, BOXXER-signed Chris Eubank Jr continues to write his own legacy in the footsteps of his father, Chris Eubank, as he takes on Liam ‘The Machine’ Williams, in a genuine grudge match in Cardiff this Saturday, 5th February live on Sky Sports.
Eubank Jr last fought in October 2021, dismantling his opponent, Wanik Awdijan, and forcing him to retire in the corner after round 5 of their match-up at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle.
Williams has been out of the ring for 10 months, coming off a defeat in the United States to Demetrius Andrade for which he was challenging for the WBO world middleweight title. Despite showing real heart, Andrade’s technique proved too much for Williams and Andrade took the win via unanimous decision.
The excitement of this all-Brit bout stems greatly from their feud via social media and additionally from their heated face-to-face exchange in a new episode of ‘The Gloves are Off’ on Sky Sports, where only a small table and former world cruiserweight Champion, Johnny Nelson, came between them.
The notion that ‘styles make fights’ is something that all fight fans will have heard many times before and, in this case, that notion really does ring true. The showdown between these two men, both with an excellent record of knockouts between them, should make for thrilling viewing.
Now training under the guidance of former professional boxer and legend of the game, Roy Jones Jr., Eubank Jr has shown vast improvement with his last two fights being won with solid, patient, and controlled performances. A style that we have not seen him adopt in the past. After being subject to criticism over the years for his inability to listen to instructions, making him ‘uncoachable,’ the relationship between Eubank Jr and Jones Jr. does not appear to be suffering the same issue. It is expected that the 32-year-old will look to outbox an always aggressive Williams, who generally looks to draw his opponent into a heavy trade of shots and chase a knockout.
Williams, having recently parted ways with Dominic Ingle, is now training in London with a previous trainer of Eubank Jr’s in Adam Booth. The Welshman claims that Booth’s insight into how Eubank Jr prepares and approaches a fight will assist in his bid to serve him with a loss on Saturday night. He believes that Eubank Jr will fall back into his old ways when they finally take to the stage and there will be a lively brawl ahead this weekend – in which he believes he will KO Eubank Jr in some style.
The outcome of this fight will decide the best of the best at 160lb in UK boxing, and ‘the man’ at middleweight will be looking towards a shot at a world title in the not-to-distant future.
ONE TO WATCH: The undercard features Claressa Shields making her UK debut against Ema Kozin and former amateur boxer and Team GB Olympian, Caroline Dubois, who will be making her professional debut in the lightweight division vs Vaida Masiokaite.
Having recently signed with BOXXER after a very successful career in the unpaid ranks, Dubois looks set to make waves as a professional and is strongly tipped to go far in the pro game. With the recent announcement of the undisputed world lightweight champion, Katie Taylor, headlining at Madison Square Garden in defence of her belts against Amanda Serrano on 30th April, there has never been a better time to be a female fighter.