Betting preview: Chris Eubank Junior has different agenda vs Anatoli Muratov

With his eyes on a super fight with Gennady Golovkin or Ryota Murata, first Eubank Jr. must get past Germany's Muratov.

Chris Eubank Jr. will continue his path to a WBA title shot with a clash against stand-in opponent Anatoli Muratov at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday.

Eubank Jr. was scheduled to meet middleweight Sven Elbir, but the 27-year-old German has tested positive for Covid-19. That has meant his fellow countryman Muratov, 33, has stepped in at just five days notice.

Muratov has been pretty active in the ring though and the bout with Eubank will be his third in just 42 days. He has won both of those fights against Gyorgy Varju (7-9) and Malkhaz Sujashvili (12-16) - two fighters who have lost more fights than they have won.

Ranked No.7 by the WBA, Muratov has won 24 of his 27 fights with 17 knockouts. His two defeats came back in 2014 and 2013 on foreign soil.

Muratov though wasted no time in stopping 30-year-old Hungarian Varju earlier this month with a KO in two minutes and 35 seconds of round one.

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Muratov has described himself as a "warrior" and he is technically a step up from Elbir, who is ranked 15 with the WBA.

"This is a fantastic moment for me," said Muratov. "It will be an honour to fight at The SSE Arena, Wembley and to test my skills against a boxer like Chris Eubank Jr. I'm jumping on this opportunity because that is what warriors do.

"Anytime, anyplace, I am ready to fight anyone. I'm looking forward to an exciting fight and a great night of boxing in London. I'm coming to win and I will give it my all."

Eubank toyed with Morrison

Eubank though is expected to waste no time in disposing of Muratov. After toying with Marcus Morrison last time in a fight in which his target was round time, the 32-year-old has said it will be different at Wembley.

With an eye-catching clash with Gennadiy Golovkin or Ryota Murata very much on his radar, Eubank has an early stoppage in his sights.

Expect this fight to be a showcase of Eubank's skills under Roy Jones Jr. While he will want to bank some rounds in, he'll want to put on a show for the fans to make a statement of intent and prove he is the new face of Sky Sports.

Speaking to Sky Sports about his win over Maddison, Eubank said: "Could I have stopped the fight earlier? Yes, but that wasn't my goal.

"That's not how it's always going to be. Fighters need to understand that was a freak occurrence. Most of the time, if I see an opportunity, I'm going to take it. You're going to go.

"On that occasion, it wasn't the case, but in my next performance I will be looking for the stoppage early."

Eubank does have 22 KOs wins from 30 fights on his record and Maddison can vow for his consistent punching power.

"I wouldn't say he carries huge amounts of power, but he does put his shots together very fast and very hard," Morrison told Sky Sports.

"Everything is sort of 70, 80 per cent. Everything is respectably hard and very fast."

It was a training exercise for Eubank against Morrison.

New trainer Roy Jones Jr. had overseen preparations in America for Eubank, who went on to take a unanimous decision with three scores of 98-92.

Wembley undercard: David Avanesyan v Liam Taylor

David Avanesyan (27-3-1, 15 KO) and Liam Taylor (23-1-1, 11 KO) will fight for Avanesyan's EBU European welterweight title.

The 33-year-old Russian Avanesyan disposed of Josh Kelly in six rounds at Wembley in February. And he is a 1/10 shot to send 30-year-old Brit Taylor packing.

With more than 100 rounds more experience than Taylor, Avanesyan looks sure to make that knowhow count.

He did survive an early storm against Kelly and was hurt in round two, but recovered from that slow start to force the towel in from Kelly's corner. His constant pressure was too much for the 27-year-old Kelly.

Taylor, who is stepping up from domestic level, is also likely to find Avanesyan's pressure overwhelming.

Richard Riakporhe v Krzysztof Twardowski

Riakporhe (11-0) has a world title showdown with Lawrence Okolie on his mind. The unbeaten cruiserweight first has to get past 25-year-old Pole Twardowski.

Twardowski has never been in the ring with anyone who can rival Riakporhe's punch power and nothing has been overlooked in the build-up.

Riakporhe's eight-week camp at the Loughborough Sport and the Boxing Centre of Excellence has left no stone unturned and expect a destructive performance from the Brit (1/16), who has bigger fish to fry.

Asked about a potentially explosive clash with unbeaten WBO cruiserweight champion Okolie, he told Sky Sports: "When I came to this game, I didn't come here to make up the numbers."I came here to prove myself and to test myself. I want to test myself against the very best. I think it would be an amazing fight.

"Two big punchers, everyone is going to want to invest in that. Someone is going to get knocked out and it's not going to be me.

Mikael Lawal v Steven Ward

Unbeaten cruiserweight Mikael Lawal will also face Northern Ireland's Steven Ward in a 10-round bout.

Lawal went six rounds with sparring partner Ossie Jervier in November 2020 and won every round on the referee's scorecard.

Ward suffered a damaging first-round KO defeat to Ricards Bolotniks in December 2019 and has fought only once since.

The London-based Lawal is a 2/9 shot and fancied to get the better of his older opponent.

How to watch

The 12-round middleweight contest between Eubank Jr. and Anatoli Muratov will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena on Saturday, October 2, from 7:30pm.

The two fighters will make their ring walks at approximately 10pm.

Read more: Betting preview - Tyson Fury backed to repeat win over Deontay Wilder

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