Chris Eubank Jr moves back down to his natural middleweight division on Saturday 7th December at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn New York when he takes on Matvey Korobov with the Interim WBA world middleweight championship on the line. The fight will be televised by Showtime.
You have to go back to June 2016 to Eubank Jr's last fight in the 160lb division. Since then he has picked up the IBO 168lb title and beaten Renold Quinlan, Arthur Abraham, Avni Yildirim, JJ McDonagh and James DeGale. He also suffered a comprehensive and decisive decision loss to George Groves in the WBSS.
The move down makes sense on so many levels for the Brighton man, but to go straight into a world title fight against a top-level fighter in Korobov could be a mistake.
Korobov (28-2-1, 14 Ko's) is now 36-years-old and that will have weighed in on Eubank's decision to face the Russian who is now based in Lantana, Florida, but Korobov produced a career-best performance just short of a year ago when he lost by unanimous decision to the then WBC Interim middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo. For many onlookers, Korobov did enough to dethrone Charlo even though the judges didn't even see it as close. Larry Hazard Jr's 119-108 for Charlo is incredible. What he was watching beggars belief.
Promoter Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has made many of the year's 50/50 fights including Pacquiao v Thurman, and Porter vs Spence Jr and they haven't done Eubank Jr any favours with this match. Korobov is a product of the Russian amateur system and as such he is technically proficient. That could be seen in the Charlo fight where the Russian controlled the distance throughout most of the rounds. He isn't a 'banger' but hits hard enough to get any middleweight in trouble.
Eubank Jr (28-2-0, 21 Ko's), the son of British middle and super-middleweight legend of the 1980s and 90s Chris Snr is an entertaining fighter whose high output combination punching makes for action-packed fights. Like Korobov, he is not a one-punch knockout artist but strings his shots together so well and accurately that his victims are bewildered and hurt by the array of punches they receive.
This is a tough fight to predict. The loss Eubank Jr suffered to George Groves showed how a sound technical boxer with a strong jab can nullify him from the outside, but of course, Groves was a big super-middleweight. Korobov's southpaw stance might be an issue as it was in the first half of Eubank Jr's 2014 loss to future WBO middle and super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. It all adds up to a close fight determined by boxing ability and youth.
Prediction: Eubank to win by decision in a tough fight.