I know, I know. Adni Yildirim is not Carl Froch or James Toney but he was the fighter the rest of the World Boxing Super Series field would only whisper about. Yildirim was tipped, perhaps merely for psychological purposes, by Callum Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher, among others, as the fighter most likely to emerge from side of the draw containing Eubank Jnr., Yildirim and Groves.
Tonight, Eubank Jnr. completely destroyed him in a performance of precision, confidence and power which marks him out as a fighter of very special qualities. For this observer he crossed a rubicon from irritating caricature of his father, who illuminated his own era of course, to an unmissable commodity in his own right.
Throughout the promotion, which has taken an unsavoury turn or two along the way, it has been striking how poised and at peace Eubank the younger remained. As the away fighter, he entered to a hostile atmosphere and remain unstirred with audible echoes of his father’s entry against Graciano Rocchigiani a million years ago.
The opening round offered an insight into the tactics it was presumed Eubank Jnr. would need to adopt to prevail; box on the outside, take the ‘sting’ out of the aggression of Yildrim with a busy jab and keep moving, keep the opponent off balance and unable to ‘set’.
Just as that pattern appeared set and viewers began to relax into the presumed distance fight those tactics would ensure, Eubank Jnr. brought up a beautiful right uppercut and forced Yildirim to sink to his knees, or all fours to be precise.
Into the second, and Eubank Jnr., emboldened, relented from that strategy, perhaps unable to resist the opportunities afforded by the predictability of his opponent’s advance, but presumed lost in the bravado of a young man eager to prove himself. It was merely the beginning and Eubank Jnr. ratcheted up the aggression with every exchange. Landing, sometimes on gloves, sometimes on targets blistering and prolonged combinations.
Yildirim was caught solidly by a right and then an exemplary left hook, as Eubank Jnr. exploded off the ropes, the latter spinning him round and on to the canvas. A sympathetic referee immediately waved it off to the consternation of some esteemed reporters from Stateside but not to this observer, who saw only concern for a dazed and vulnerable fighter disconnected from his senses and prospects of victory.
Eubank Jnr. lingered over his prey. Long enough to make the point, briefly enough not to offend. After timers, as young Mr. Bunce categorises them, will point to Yildirim’s lack of experience and predictable tactics. To do so is to cling to the remnants of an assumption Eubank Jnr. is but a facsimile of his famous father and prove only to be stubborn and blinkered to the obvious talent he possesses.
For all George Groves’ experience, strength and right hand power, I make Eubank Jnr. favourite in their presumed Semi-Final in January.
It will be a fabulous contest too.
Click on the image for unofficial, unendorsed tribute wear.