Chris Eubank Jr
A cut sustained by Chris Eubank Jr in an early clash of heads bled heavily throughout the fight Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Despite promising to deliver a comprehensive knockout and send his compatriot into early retirement with a statement victory that would help separate himself from his father's legacy, Saturday night's (17 February) eagerly-anticipated first super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semi-final proved a humbling experience for the overly confident but undeniably brave Chris Eubank Jr.

The 28-year-old, who was the slight favourite going into the brutal, bloody all-British affair, was largely dominated by the bigger, harder-hitting, more experienced and technically proficient George Groves at the Manchester Arena, losing his IBO belt on points in addition to being denied a place in the final in June against either Liverpool's Callum Smith or former reigning light-heavyweight title-holder Jurgen Brahmer of Germany.

While Groves now moves onto that lucrative tournament showpiece in June, provided a dislocated shoulder suffered at the beginning of an engrossing final round heals sufficiently, IBTimes UK looks at what the future may hold for Eubank Jr after only the second defeat of his 28-fight professional career...

Get/use a proper trainer

Eubank Jr claims to essentially train himself, with Chris Eubank Sr and Ronnie Davies - who has been in the corner for both generations - on hand for guidance.

However, his lack of a discernible back-up plan when it became clear that his principal tactic of using his sublime speed to get inside and unleash a flurry of punches was to be largely neutralised by Groves' impressive long jab.

"It wasn't Chris in there tonight," Davies was quoted as saying by Boxing News. "Following him about instead of closing him down. I kept saying close him down, close him down, which he didn't do. Groves fought tactically a great fight and he [Junior] lost the fight. He shouldn't have done. But he did."

It would probably be wise for Eubank Jr, once coached by Adam Booth, to either start better utilising Davies' wealth of experience or else invest in another full-time trainer to assist in honing his unquestionable talent.

Return to middleweight

Despite actually weighing in slightly heavier than Groves, the obvious difference in size between the pair was painfully apparent on fight night and Eubank Jr subsequently admitted that it certainly played its part.

He also said he would be willing, for the right opportunity, to return to middleweight, where he initially competed and fought for the European, British and Commonwealth belts in addition to becoming the WBA interim champion before stepping up a division against Renold Quinlan in February 2017.

David Lemieux
David Lemieux suffered a comprehensive defeat to WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders last year Al Bello/Getty Images

He did previously talk up a fight with middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin, who rematches Saul Alvarez in May. Former nemesis and WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders is unlikely to be interested in a second clash as he chases the winner of GGG-Canelo II, while the likes of Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade and Daniel Jacobs would be tough opponents in a strong 160-pound field.

Could a bout against someone such as Canada's David Lemieux - thoroughly outclassed on home turf by Saunders in December - make sense?

Caleb Truax

If Eubank Jr is to defy his critics and stay at super-middleweight, then IBF champion Truax could be his best - and quickest - route back to a world title.

The previously little-known Minnesotan produced one of the biggest shocks of 2017 when he dethroned a rusty James DeGale on his UK homecoming in London in December.

"I guess I'm out of the tournament but there's a man called Caleb Truax who has a world title so maybe we can get it on and I can fight the winner of the tournament," Eubank Jr said immediately after his defeat to Groves.

Truax, 34, responded on social media by telling the Brighton native to "get in line" and hinting that he could even chase his own fight with 'The Saint' after the WBSS final this summer.

James DeGale

Hunting his own shot at redemption against Truax is DeGale, who trainer Jim McDonnell has confirmed is now back training and sparring after rushing back too soon before Christmas following shoulder surgery.

Caleb Truax vs James DeGale
Caleb Truax stunned James DeGale in December to become the IBF super-middleweight champion James Chance/Getty Images

'Chunky' appeared to scoff at Eubank Jr's suggestions of another possible all-British showdown with the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, labelling him the "biggest hype job I've ever known" and telling him to "crawl back under your rock".

A second shot at WBSS glory

Groves initially seemed optimistic regarding the seriousness of his shoulder injury and the lack of any floating bone, with a clearer picture expected to emerge this week.

"Who wants to watch the WBSS final without me in it?" he said, per The Mirror. "If the dates need to be changed slightly then I'm sure they'll do that. We'll get the medical report first and then see. If I was them, I wouldn't want to replace me."

Promoter Kalle Sauerland has stated that there is a slight window to rearrange the 2 June final, but that a replacement for Groves - either a tournament loser or another available world champion - would need to be sought if he is looking at a lay-off lasting months rather than weeks.

Eubank Jr, who demolished Avni Yildirim inside three rounds in the quarter-finals, evidently believes he should be top of that particular list to meet either Smith or Brahmer at the O2 Arena. Could he get his hands on the Muhammad Ali Trophy after all?

Truax, David Benavidez, Gilberto Ramirez and Tyron Zeuge are other potential options.