Chris Eubank Jr's proposed world middleweight title challenge against Gennady 'Triple G' Golovkin appears to be edging ever closer. The reigning British champion had been targeting a lucrative bout with one of the world's most feared fighters since before rejoining Matchroom's stable and continued to call him out after an emphatic victory over Tom Doran on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Dominic Breazeale last weekend.
Undefeated Golovkin, currently behind only Roman "Chocolatito"Gonzalez and Sergey Kovalev in the prestigious pound-for-pound rankings, is receptive to the idea and Eddie Hearn has previously said that he expects negotiations to be concluded this week. The hard-hitting Kazakh has mostly fought in America over recent years after initially basing himself in Germany, but promoter Tom Loeffler has reiterated that his charge is willing to put his WBA (super), WBC, IBF and IBO belts on the line in the United Kingdom. Wembley Stadium and the O2 Arena have been mooted as possible venues.
"GGG is willing to go to the UK to defend his world titles, and it would be a huge event," he told the Associated Press. "Hopefully we can get the fight signed."
A meeting with Golovkin would be an enormous step up for Eubank Jr, who bounced back from his only defeat to date against bitter rival and now WBO title-holder Billy Joe Saunders in November 2014 by stopping Dmitry Chudinov to become WBA interim champion.
He retained that strap by making light work of Tony Jeter and later enjoyed the last laugh after his war of words with Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan. A change of path then saw the 26-year-old claim the Lonsdale belt with a brutal victory over Nick Blackwell that saw the latter retire after collapsing and spending a week in a medically-induced coma.
Only two of Golovkin's 35 professional contests have come against a British fighter. He previously retained his WBA and IBO titles by dropping Matthew Macklin in round three of their contest at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut and last year was surprisingly almost taken the distance by the incredibly durable Martin Murray in Monte Carlo.
Since then, he has improved his record to 32 knockouts by defeating Willie Monroe Jr, David Lemieux and Dominic Wade and also dealt with constant frustration in his quest to secure a high-profile bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The Mexican favourite has spoken of his wish to avoid "artificial deadlines" and vacated his WBC title – for which Golovkin was the mandatory challenger – in May after his brutal KO of plucky challenger Amir Khan.
A verbal agreement for two of boxing's biggest stars to go head-to-head next autumn is said to have been agreed, although it remains to be seen if that is binding or merely a token gesture to placate increasingly disgruntled fans. Canelo, who has been chastised by Golovkin for typically fighting at a catchweight of 155lbs instead of the middleweight limit of 160, is actually set to drop down a weight in September to challenge Liverpool's Liam Smith for his WBO crown.