Billy Joe Saunders (21-0, 11 Kos) gets a hard fought split decision victory over Chris Eubank Jr. (18-1, Kos 13). In boxing there is nothing more exciting than two young undefeated fighters in their prime, giving it their all, and that’s what happened in the Excel Arena.
In the first half of the fight Saunders and Eubank Jr. got into a technical fight, both trying to measure and outwit each other. Eubank Jr. is a decent boxer, but was clearly outmatched from a technical standpoint by Saunders. Eubank lost the majority, if not all the rounds in the first half of the fight. He was constantly being peppered with potshots, and Saunders never left himself in a vulnerable position to be hit with any of Eubank’s big shots.
In the second half of the fight a sense of urgency began arising in the Eubank’s corner. Eubank began increasing his offensive output and taking more risks. He began to set an uncomfortable pace for Saunders, and started to land some of his big shots. Saunders was receiving more punishment, but was delivering more as well, because Eubank’s aggressiveness allowed for more countering opportunities.
In the championship rounds Eubank was trying to get a knockout, but Saunders did not cave in, he landed his fair number of punches but was clearly fading. Eubank started to come on really strong but Saunders being the intelligent fighter that he is, smothered and clinched effectively to make it through the last two rounds.
Saunders won the first half of the fight, and Eubank won the second half. The scorecards read 115-114 for Saunders, 116-113 for Eubank, and 115- 113 for Saunders.
Saunders getting the split decision victory now has many viable options in his immediate future. He definitely showed the ability to compete with the likes of Curtis Stevens, Hassan N’Dam, Jermain Taylor, or even a Peter Quillin, but a rematch with Eubank Jr. may be the best option at this point. Even though his victory was non controversial, it was definitely close enough that will have the boxing world clamoring for these two combatants to step in the ring together once again.