Chris Eubank Jr. and Avni Yildirim have likened Saturday’s World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight quarterfinal to war as a press conference in Stuttgart ahead of the pair’s fight turned ugly.
The English boxer faces Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, where Yildrim is expected to have good support from German-based Turks.
“The warship has landed, fully equipped, fully loaded and all the artillery is pointing at this man here [Yildirim],” Eubank said.
“Heat-seeking missiles, torpedoes, Gatling guns, the whole shebang and let’s see how long the man with the Kalashnikov can last.”
Yildirim and his manager Ahmet Öner reacted to Eubank’s brief opening statement by invoking history.
“So you have come with all your weapons, but don’t forget the first world war when everybody was after the Turks and nobody couldn’t do it,” said Yildirim, whose words were translated by Öner.
“We are still here and everyone knows what Turkish soldiers are capable of. Ottoman Empire. The fight is not a joke and you are talking about war. Turks are soldiers, war is in our DNA. You will see it, this is no sport, this is a real fight, this is war.”
Eubank then tried to defuse the situation by saying he did not see their fight as a war between two nations.
“I have a lot of respect for the Turkish community, I have Turkish friends and I love Turkish food,” said Eubank.
“But countries and nationalities and all of this talk doesn’t mean anything. We’re in the present. This is a fight between two men. Nationalities doesn’t mean anything once that bell goes. I would advise Avni to take his focus off of stirring up drama between two countries, let’s focus on giving the fans the fight they want to see.
“When it comes to boxing I believe emotion is a hindrance. I’m very focused and it’s all business. I don’t have anything personal against him or his trainer, he’s just a person in front of me I have to beat to get to the semifinal and final. There’s no bad blood, I don’t know the man or understand anything he’s really saying.”
While Eubank remained calm, Yildirim and his manager Öner became agitated and Öner then confronted one of Eubank’s team amid a lot of shouting and insults.
Eubank, 28, is feeling confident after stepping up a division after winning his last two fights at super-middleweight against Australia’s Renold Quinlan and Germany’s former champion Arthur Abraham.
Yildirim, 26, is not as well known as Abraham but impressed Eubank’s English rival James DeGale, the IBF world champion, in a sparring session last year.
The winner of Eubank-Yildirim will progress to meet the victor of the all-English clash between George Groves, the WBA world champion, and Jamie Cox, who clash in London on Oct. 14.