Saturday, April 1, 2023

Harlem Eubank Emerges On The Jr. Welterweight Radar

Longtime readers of this observer's work both online and in print over the years, have likely seen yours truly at one time or another chronicle the rise of a fighter, who is the offspring of a former fighter, who in most cases is a former world champion. As time has gone on, unfortunately I find myself in a position where now when these scenarios come up, the offspring of a fighter I will be covering is one where I covered their parent during the early days of my journey covering Boxing and by extension combat sports, which began in the mid-1990's. While that does offer me the chance to feel old, it also provides yours truly an opportunity to provide some insight that some might describe as unique due to my either having covered or otherwise watched the parent during their time competing in the sport of a fighter that is now starting to emerge on the scene in Boxing.

Such a scenario presented itself on March 31st, when on an otherwise quiet afternoon, I found myself browsing the app of digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN as I often look to see if there are additions to their schedule. A pleasant surprise emerged when I came across an advert for a Boxing card taking place within minutes from the legendary York Hall in London, England where undefeated Jr. Welterweight prospect Harlem Eubank, the son of former world champion Chris Eubank Sr., and the brother of former IBO Super-Middleweight world champion Chris Eubank Jr., would be competing in the main event.

In the interest of disclosure with the reader, I had been aware that a card would indeed be taking place on March 31st in York Hall, but was unaware that I would have access to the event and further did not know that the opportunity to watch the card would also present the chance to see Harlem Eubank compete for the first time. Having previously covered both his father and his brother, I was naturally interested by the chance to cover the latest in the Eubank bloodline.

As is usually the case whenever a fight featuring the offspring of a great fighter occurs, I do tend just out of instinct, to look for similarities between what I had seen previously and what the offspring has to offer. In this case, this fight in particular had an added wrinkle in that Eubank would be facing a late replacement in the form of thirty-two bout veteran Miguel Antin. This created a sense of the unknown as to what I thought I might see as often those who take fights on short notice are either under prepared, which is natural given the circumstances and that usually results in a short fight,  or they end up being considerably more dangerous than the label of a "Late Replacement" would suggest.

What stood out to me immediately was Eubank, who entered the fight unbeaten in sixteen bouts with six knockouts, displayed speed both in terms of lateral movement as well as hand speed. Eubank's ability to change levels and attack Antin, a native of El Boldon, Argentina, who entered the fight with a record of 20-11-1, with 8 Knockouts, at varying levels and ability to use angles in doing so, reminded this observer of Chris Eubank Sr., who won world titles in both the Middleweight and Super-Middleweight divisions, at his best. While it can be tempting when one sees such similarities to get caught up in nostalgia, it is important for one to keep in mind that when it comes to the offspring of great fighters, it may not necessarily be wise for one to associate their style as being similar or a direct copy of who they have sprung from.

Nevertheless, Eubank's approach did catch my attention as he appeared to implement a stick and move approach, throwing and landing short, compact combinations, and evading Antin with his movement. Although the circumstances seemed to favor Embank in every way, Antin would catch Eubank with a few solid hooks to the head as the fight progressed and in doing so, was able to provide him with something that can be at times elusive for young prospects on the rise regardless of their lineage, a stern test.

At least for this fight, Eubank showed he could take a punch and not only was able to take the best that Antin could throw at him including some roughhouse tactics, but he also showed that he could stay focused on the task of executing his fight plan. In rounds six and seven, Eubank would score a knockdown in each round as a result of some effective work to Antin 's body. Antin was very "Game" in getting up from the knockdowns and, despite being clearly out of the fight on the official scorecards, under circumstances where he could have said he had, had enough, he continued the fight all the way to the final bell.

A clear and wide unanimous decision in favor of Eubank was no surprise at the conclusion of the scheduled ten round bout. What this fight did for Eubank beyond allowing him to box against a late replacement was by producing a solid performance under those circumstances and also passing what was likely the first test of his career, he has now emerged on the Jr. Welterweight radar. Given the name recognition he brings to the table, it would not be surprising from a business standpoint to see an attempt to move him towards world title contention. 

Based on this performance, it may not be too long before an attempt towards that is made. The development of a fighter however, is truly a delicate balancing act, and it might be wise to give him a few more fights now as a 17-0 prospect before trying to move him against the top contenders in the talent-deep 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division.

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

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