The Friday Faceup

Chris Eubank Jr tips the scales at 163.4 lbs.

This Saturday (2nd Oct) a new era begins on Sky Sports for big time boxing. A new promotional relationship with BOXXER fronted by founder and CEO Ben Shalom replaces the longstanding contract between Sky and Matchroom. This could be good news for fight fans with regular events on the subscription channel and possibly fewer going immediately to box office.

To officially launch the new venture world rated middleweight Chris Eubank Jr (30-2-0, 22 KO’s) faces late substitute Anatoli Muratov (24-2-1, 17 KO’s) at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

Eubank Jr is the name fighter and will be a big favorite going in. His Kazak-born, but naturalized German opponent is ranked #7 by the WBA, which is flattering given his record and level of opposition but has won impressively twice in the last two months. He will enter the ring as a busy and talented foe. Muratov replaced Sweden’s Sven Elbir earlier in the week and is to be commended for saving the main event at such short notice.

In contrast, the 32 year old Eubank has not fought since May but has a much more impressive resume. He is ranked world #8 by The Ring magazine and fought regularly at world level. He provides the ideal personality and big fight experience to front the first BOXXER promotion and will be looking to win impressively. The promotion is in association with Wasserman Boxing headed up by Kalle Sauerland and features a competitive undercard.

Cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe takes on Mikael Lawal and at welterweight David Avanesyan faces Liam Taylor. These could be the pick of the contests.

The UK-based Russian, Avenesyan (27-3-1, 15 KO’s) is defending his European title after his impressive victory against undefeated Josh Kelly earlier in the year. The Lancastrian Taylor has an 23-1, 11 KO record and this will be his first dip into world level waters. It should though be highly competitive.

The night also features super-welterweight Joe Pigford and flyweight Harvey Horn. Both prospects promising big things.

Eubank Jr has lost to fellow Brits Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves on points in recent years in high profile title fights, but now rebuilds to challenge one of the other world sanctioning body champions. There are lucrative fights out there with the likes of Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin, Ryota Murata, Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, and also big domestic rematches. Muratov stands in his way Saturday night but Eubank Jr is confident of victory “I’m going in there to make a statement…I’m going for the knockout, as always” he told Sky Sports at today’s lunchtime weigh in.

Now trained by Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr look for the Brighton fighter to make that statement with an impressive KO. Like all Kazak born fighters Muratov will be tough but the home fighter should get the job done. Enjoy your fight weekend !

The BOXXER promotion will be televised live on Sky Sports from 19:30 (UK time) and commentary on Talksport.

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