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Chris Eubank Jr. Reacts With Surprise To News Of Promoter Seeking To Make Him Fight IBO Champion

Chris Eubank Jr. Reacts With Surprise To News Of Promoter Kalle Sauerland Seeking To Make Him Fight IBO Champion featured image
Chris Eubank Jr. of Britain (L, IBO super middleweight world champion) and tournament organizer Kalle Sauerland speaking at a press conference ahead of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super middleweight quarter final in Stuttgart, Geramny, 4 October 2017. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa (Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Chris Eubank Jr. has apparently just woken up to the strangest news that his promoter, Wasserman Boxing co-chairman Kalle Sauerland, is looking to match him with IBO middleweight champion Etinosa Oliha, an unbeaten Italian fighter who claimed the IBO title on July 1st this year, despite apparent wishes for Eubank to face WBO champion Janibek Alimkhanuly instead.

While Kalle Sauerland confirmed his plans to arrange a fight with Italian IBO middleweight champion Etinosa Oliha (19-0, 8 KO’s), Chris Eubank Jr. (33-3, 24 KO’s) seems to have an entirely different plan in mind regarding his next opponent.

Went to sleep after agreeing to fight Janibek for world titles… woke up and now my promoter Kalle Sauerland is trying to make me fight Etinosa Oliha, a boxer nobody has heard of….Eubank Jr. mused on Twitter.

Wasserman Boxing, how and why?

Wasserman Boxing, a promotion owned and run by brothers Kalle and Nisse Sauerland, has promoted Chris Eubank Jr. for the past couple of years. Prior to this news, Eubank’s promoter had apparently asked the WBO to pass on an opportunity to face Janibek Alimkhanuly (15-0, 10 KO’s) after the WBO had ordered the two to fight each other. This would designate Eubank as the mandatory WBO challenger to Alimkhanuly’s WBO title and also enable Eubank to fight for the IBF middleweight title―which Alimkhanuly recently conquered in October.

The IBO is not a major sanctioning body like the rest of the four major organizations―known as the WBA, WBC, WBO, and IBF―and winning their brand of world titles is not considered an actual achievement on par with winning an actual world title. Eubank Jr.’s words seem to indicate he had plans to face Alimkhanuly and challenge for the Kazakhstani’s WBO and IBF titles, which are regarded as legitimate world titles.

Wasserman Boxing, and particularly Kalle Sauerland, who has been the face and spokesperson of the promotion, is now in hot water given Chris Eubank Jr.’s latest statements. Questions have now arisen about the practices of the Sauerland brothers, who appear to have chosen the lesser of two opponents for Eubank to face in Etinosa Olliha, an unproven and unbeaten Italian fighter who has reigned as the IBO champion for a little over five months.

Chris Eubank Jr. is currently one of the highest-regarded middleweights in the world following his September 2nd TKO victory over British rival Liam Smith. He is currently ranked #1 on BoxRec, over WBO champion Janibek Alimkhanuly, #3 on the Transnational Boxing Rankings, and #5 on The Ring Boxing Magazine’s rankings for middleweights.