Chris Eubank Jr. progressed to the World Boxing Super Series elimination tournament after cruising to a unanimous points decision against an accommodating Arthur Abraham on Saturday.
Abraham, now a faded force, lacked any ambition as he plodded forward to meet Eubank’s stinging blows, but the Germany-based boxer refused to go down at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Eubank (25-1, 19 KOs), who had vowed to become the first boxer to stop Abraham (46-6, 30 KOs), had to be content with scores of 120-108, 118-110 and 118-110.
“He’s definitely the most durable opponent I’ve faced,” said Eubank.
“I hit him with every shot in the book. He didn’t win a round and I’m happy with the performance.”
Eubank joins fellow Britons George Groves, Jamie Cox and Callum Smith in the eight-man, $50 million (£41 million) competition, which is due to start in September and October. The Brighton-based boxer will face Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) in the quarterfinal after claiming the best victory of his six-year professional career. Groves, who owns a super middleweight world title, will meet Eubank in the semifinals if they both win their opening bouts in the competition.
“I got to show my boxing skills and go 12 rounds. I’m going into a tournament to take George Groves’ belt,” said Eubank.
“I took it easy in the last round because I didn’t want to risk it, to get a cut or something.”
Eubank, 27, had fought only once in the 12-stone division before climbing through the ropes at the SSE Arena, which had a far smaller crowd than the 10,000-strong sell-out for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor media event the night before.
But Eubank quickly showed he was not out of his depth and peppered Abraham with punches in the second round, forcing the Armenia-born boxer to desperately cover up on the ropes.
As commanding as Eubank looked, Abraham did not offer much in return.
The former super middleweight champion is 10 years older than Eubank and has been showing signs of decline in recent years. He lost his world title by a wide points margin to Gilberto Ramirez in April 2016 and had also been lucky to hold on to the belt via points against Martin Murray in 2015.
Abraham, who needed three attempts to make weight, bizarrely invited Eubank to attack him on the ropes and the Briton duly obliged by landing three jolting right uppercuts in the fourth round.
Similarly in the fifth, Abraham was a sitting target as he covered up on the ropes, perhaps hoping his younger opponent would tire out. But he didn’t.
Eubank sustained the high volume of punches into the second half of the fight, putting Abraham under intense pressure in the seventh round and wobbling the Germany-based boxer with hooks.
When Abraham countered with a single shot, Eubank shrugged his shoulders to the crowd in a bit of showmanship reminiscent of his father, Chris Sr., a world champion in the 1990s.
Abraham’s head snapped back from a sharp left uppercut in the eighth as he continued to be an easy target for Eubank.
Eubank was caught unaware by a long left hook that stunned him in the 11th round, but he was untroubled by the shot and responded with a furious assault.
It was a one-sided fight and the outcome on points was never in doubt. Neither is there any doubt as to how tough Abraham is after taking such sustained punishment and finishing the fight upright.