Chris Eubank Jr makes a victorious return to boxing as he claims unanimous points victory over Marcus Morrison to kickstart his bid for a world middleweight title shot this year
- Chris Eubank Jr won on his return to boxing in Manchester on Saturday night
- Having been out the ring since December 2019, he beat Marcus Morrison
- Eubank Jr is hoping to land a world middleweight title shot later this year
- With a unanimous victory, he improved his record to 30 wins in 32 fights
After a year living under the wing of Roy Jones Jr on a Florida farm, Chris Eubank Jr outclassed Marcus Morrison in a 10-rounder in his first fight of the new arrangement.
He took a unanimous verdict by margins of 99-92 on all three cards but the performance on the Chisora-Parker undercard suggested his stated plans for world domination require further honing.
There were exciting flashes of quality, mainly through Eubank’s rapid combinations in the second, fifth and latter rounds, but regularly he seemed caught between those old instincts and the instructions for patience from the legend in his corner.
Chris Eubank Jr shook off the ring rust with a routine points win against Marcus Morrison
Having been out the ring since December 2019, Eubank Jr made his return in Manchester
At times, the 31-year-old, who was returning after a 16-month absence, attempted with some awkwardness to mimic the ambushes and posturing of his mentor, but the manoeuvres are plainly a work in progress.
Morrison was tough and threw good jabs but caused no damage, and was almost stopped in both the second and the 11th. In the second, Eubank had him cornered with a bloodied nose but noticeably backed off in favour of getting extra rounds.
After progressing to 30-2, Eubank said: ‘I felt good. I boxed. I had him hurt badly in the second and could have ended it but I wanted rounds. I wanted to use what Roy was telling me and experience taking instruction from my new coach.
‘I am a killer and if I see an opening I take it but I am here to learn. I can’t get better by knocking a guy out in the first or second round.’
Eubank Jr wants a world title shot this year and improved his record to 30 wins in 32 fights
Speaking afterwards, Eubank Jr said: ‘I feel good. I had him hurt bad in the second round and I could have ended the fight there.’
Earlier, Craig Richards put up a brave fight in an unsuccessful challenge for the WBA light-heavyweight world title held by Russia’s Dmitry Bivol. The Londoner, ranked No 5 by the WBA, wasn’t given a prayer of the upset but had his moments late on in a 118-110, 115-113 and 115-114 points defeat.
Bivol, who improved to 18-0 after almost two years inactive, did the classier work and was more comfortable than the cards suggested, but he lacked the firepower to discourage the surges from a committed challenger. Credit to Richards, who was more than able to survive in his first encounter with elite opposition.
There was a major shock as James Tennyson was blasted out in one round by Jovanni Straffon for the little-regarded IBO lightweight world title. The Belfast fighter, who was climbing towards a second shot at a recognised belt after defeat in an IBF super-featherweight challenge in 2018, was floored midway through the first and survived a generous count, before being stopped during Straffon’s next flurry.
Meanwhile, Campbell Hatton made it two wins from two as a professional with a points victory over Levi Dunn. As with his debut in March, Hatton, 20, fell short in a scrappy rush for a knockout, but was marginally more composed in his work. He won the four-rounder by 40-36.
Hatton said: ‘It was night and day to my debut. I was more relaxed, used my brain more, so I am a lot more pleased.’
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