This Saturday, Turkey’s undefeated young boxer Avni Yıldırım faces Britain’s Chris Eubank Jr for the IBO Super-Middleweight title. The fight, at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, is part of the World Boxing Super Series, a new tournament now at the quarter-finals stage. The competition winner will come away with $10m in prize money, the Muhammad Ali Trophy and a vastly bigger global profile.
The fight against Yıldırım is being billed as Eubank’s toughest challenge to date. The reining IBO champion has lost just one of his 26 fights since turning professional in 2011, winning 19 of these bouts by knockout. Beating his tough and proud Turkish opponent is crucial to cementing his reputation as a world class boxer.
The British boxer, who is being trained under the watchful eye of his father, former world champion Chris Eubank Sr, is bristling with confidence. He told Boxing Scene: “Yıldırım’s chin has not been tested, I will test it to the absolute limit and if it has even the slightest bit of weakness he will not last six rounds.”
Yıldırım however, has other plans. Born in Sivas, central Turkey, the young fighter who holds the WBC International Super middleweight title, has fought most of his professional matches in Germany, where there is a huge Turkish community. The 26-year-old told reporters: “I am very happy that the fight is in Stuttgart because for me it is like a second Turkey and I am looking forward to entertaining the crowd. Training is going great. I know what I have to do. I have been training really hard, and I am fully focused on this.”
He added, “It is a great honour for me to be a part of this tournament. If I did not have the skills to win I would not be a part of the World Boxing Super Series and I believe I have what it takes to win.”
The eagerly awaited bout between the two orthodox boxers takes place on Saturday, October 7. The contest is being screened live on ITV’s new Box Office channel. The pay-on-demand programme starts at 6.45pm and costs £9.95 to watch. Sky and Virgin customers can register to watch via this link.