Sauerland: Marketable Eubank can be a middleweight force

Promoter Nisse Sauerland speaks to Boxing Social’s Luke G. Williams about how the signing of Chris Eubank Jr. was sealed and why the deal was a “no brainer”…

It’s refreshing to note that even major boxing promoters find home schooling young children in the midst of another pandemic-induced lockdown to be a fraught process.

When Boxing Social comes calling on Monday morning, the ever-affable Nisse Sauerland admits with a good-natured chuckle that “home schooling is killing me, man!”, while also stressing that he has the utmost respect for the work teachers and schools have been doing to keep students supplied with online resources and engaging content.

However, the vagaries, stresses and strains of online learning platforms aren’t the reason why we’re talking. Sauerland’s massive new signing Chris Eubank Jr. is.

There may be no fights going on in the UK this month, but Sauerland have secured a significant promotional coup by snaring the services of one of the UK boxing scene’s bona fide ‘names’ in the form of the enigmatic 31-year-old (29-2, 22 KOs).

Prior to being confirmed, the signing caused plenty of social media chatter over the weekend, fuelled by rumours in the influential German tabloid ‘Bild’ and plenty of surreal discussions about the shape of the head on a silhouette on a Sauerland tweet trailing an impending “big announcement”.

The Eubank signing ensures that the company founded by hall of fame promoter and patriarch Wilfried and currently piloted by Nisse (younger brother of Kalle, of World Boxing Super Series renown and general cult internet status) has started the year on the front foot.

Nisse admits that securing the services of Eubank was a “no brainer” of a decision.

“Eubank is very, very talented,” he enthuses. “He’s a very good fighter and very marketable, which is important for us. I think if you look outside of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury then he’s leading the pack [of UK boxers] outside of that with his marketability, his name, but also his talent.

“We’ve got a lot of potentially very interesting fights we could make for him. A Billy Joe Saunders rematch in the UK would be huge.

“He could fight the Japanese boxer [Ryota] Murata. That would be a very good fight. They are boxing fanatics over there in Japan, we’ve seen that with [Naoya] Inoue. There’s a real boxing culture out there and they really support their guys. Eubank-Murata would be a very interesting fight in the UK or in Japan or anywhere in the world. That’s a fight I think that can be made.

“Then you’ve got the Charlos, you’ve got Canelo, you’ve got [Gennady] Golovkin. There’s a lot of options out there.”

Nisse believes that Eubank’s marketability is founded on the fact he is rarely, if ever, involved in a dull fight.

“He’s definitely always in very exciting fights. And I think he’s got all the tools. He’s got speed, he’s got power. I also think fighting at middleweight really suits him. I thought he would grow into super-middleweight naturally but he can still make middleweight comfortably and I think his power at middleweight will make him a real force to be reckoned with. That’s what we’re targeting.”

Ever since a projected match-up between Eubank and Golovkin fell apart in 2016, the Hove-born stylist and his father Chris Eubank Sr. have attracted plenty of criticism for supposedly being ‘difficult’ to negotiate with.

Nisse, however, dismisses any such concerns.

”We’ve worked with the Eubanks before, and we’re happy to work with them again. [Eubank Jr fought on a Sauerland card in Norway in September 2012, as well as in the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, for which the aforementioned Kalle acts as Chief Boxing Officer].

“From him working with my brother in the WBSS there’s definitely an aspect of trust there. Chris did well out of the tournament. He didn’t win it, but he knocked out [Avni] Yildirim who is apparently going to fight Canelo next and he gave George Groves a great fight. I’ve always got on with both Junior and Senior. Senior is a highly intelliegent guy and that’s nice to work with.”

Turning his attention to Eubank’s recent training work in the United States under Roy Jones, Nisse argues that he can only benefit from associating with one of the richest talents ever to grace the prize ring.

“Roy Jones is one of the best ever pound-for-pound fighters and having someone around you with that kind of pedigree, well, it can’t help but rub off on you. 

“Obviously, Chris hasn’t had the chance to show what working with Roy has done for him quite yet, but I’m confident he will. He’s still got some very interesting years ahead of him and some very big fights in store.”

Quite when those fights will happen though, Nisse admits, is frustratingly unclear.

“The British board have announced shows from mid-February so realistically we talking March would be a good time to get him out. The UK would be ideal for a homecoming of sorts.

“At the moment, I’m telling all my fighters that they need to be four weeks out from a fight. That they need to be a good sparring camp away from a big fight. They need to be ticking over and they need to be ready because you don’t know when that phone call’s going to come.

“The pandemic has thrown a massive spanner in the works of the boxing industry. We’re adapting but it’s hard to get fights and hard to plan fights at the moment.

“But I’m a glass half full sort of person and I believe that from March or April, we’re going to start rolling again, what with the vaccine and whatever else. 

“That’s when I think boxing will come alive again… mind you I did think that last year, too, so don’t take my word for it!”