Chris Eubank Jnr successfully defended his IBO world super-middleweight title with a unanimous points win over determined German veteran Arthur Abraham at Wembley Arena.
The champion showed his full array of punches, but was not able to deliver a knockout blow against the battle-hardened 37-year-old.
However the clear superiority across the judges scorecards, with two scoring it 118-110 and the other 120-108, gave Eubank the validation he needed heading into the inaugural World Boxing Super Series which also features the likes of George Groves, Callum Smith and Jamie Cox.
There had been little love lost between the two fighters in the build-up.
Eubank soon tested the Armenian-born German with a range of jabs in the opening round, before coming inside to land a strong uppercut straight through the middle of his guard.
Abraham, who had initially failed to make the limit at Friday's weigh-in, continued to back off in the second round and at one stage was left static on the ropes by Eubank's superior movement.
However, Abraham - a former IBF middleweight world champion and twice WBO super-middleweight title holder - showed plenty of heart as he soaked up Eubank's armoury while also giving the Englishman plenty to think about with his own big left hand over the top.
Eubank had moved up from middleweight for his previous world title-winning fight against Renold Quinlan in February, but saw his pace drop as the fight reached the midway point.
The 27-year-old, with just one defeat to Billy Joe Saunders from his 25 professional bouts, stepped things up again in the seventh, but once more Abraham took the punishment on the ropes before moving back on the offensive.
Abraham was producing a resolute display and then rocked the champion in the 11th with a big left before again standing tall under a flurry of blows as the contest drew to a close.
Earlier on the undercard, Welshman Lee Selby delivered a successful third defence of his IBF world featherweight title with a unanimous decision points win over Argentinian Jonathan Barros, which secured a positive end to a difficult and emotional week following the death of his mother.
There was a shock result when Poland's Michal Syrowatka defeated Robbie Davies Jr to claim the WBA light-welterweight title.
The Liverpool fighter was cut in the sixth and then sent to the canvas in the final round when the towel came in from his corner. Davis Jr was taken to hospital following the fight as a precaution, but his manager later confirmed he was okay.
Elsewhere, British super-featherweight champion Martin Ward retained his title and added the vacant Commonwealth belt with a unanimous points wins over the previously unbeaten Belfast boxer Anthony Cacace.
Sheffield featherweight Kid Galahad took his record to 23-0 with a 10th-round stoppage of Mexican Jose Cayetano to claim the vacant IBF inter-continental title.
Chris Eubank Jr is the IBO World Super Middleweight champion!
A unanimous decision. 118-110, 120-108...
CHRIS EUBANK JR IS STILL WORLD SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION!
There can only be one winner here
And his name rhymes with Tris Broobank Zoonier.
"Look good," is the advice of Eubank Snr. Abraham has to come out or he's lost this, Eubank wants to hit him.
Eubank gets Abraham to the ropes, tries four uppercuts in a row but none get through and then turns his back before bouncing away. The referee gives him a little talking to. Abraham might have one last punch in him... 30 seconds to go... but Eubank is keeping him on the back foot.
Both are moving around the ring, testing each other out and share a smile... because that's it!
Big left hand from the bell by Eubank! Abraham takes it and then another. Eubank Snr still wants his son to toy with his opponent to draw him into a mistake but Abraham's having none of it, staying solid and absorbing the punches.
And Abraham lands a bit left hand! The crowd saw that one and Eubank knows it - he responds immediately and throws combos at the Armenian, pushing him to the ropes. Eubank misses a BIG left hand shortly after.
We're going the distance!
Eubank is in control here. Abraham has his guard up, Eubank speeding up and slowing down when he wants to - he doesn't even look slightly tired!
Eubank has dropped low and is edging close to Abraham, trying to draw him in and open up that guard. Abraham tries to land some punches but Eubank is playing with him, easily ducking and diving out of the way of his efforts. Abraham needs a knock-out to win this.
Big left from Eubank - Abraham has definitely felt that one and falls back. Abraham's playing this up too. He's taking a lot of damage but is either Homer Simpson levels of strong when being punched or is pretending he's not feeling these hits to knock Eubank off his game.
Eubank is throwing strong punches at the ropes, Abraham holding on and starting to look tired. An uppercut gets through the guard again, a couple of cross shots bounce off the gloves... that's it. Eubank Jr is surely in charge here. George Groves reckons he's won every round and that Abraham can't live with the pace. "He looks a bit wobbly on his legs".
Abraham must be hoping that Eubank slows down at some point but that doesn't look like happening any time soon. Eubank lands another big shot but Abraham keeps going like he's made of stone.
Abraham goes scampering off balance as Eubank jabs with a right hand. Great left from Eubank on the bell.
Eubank's attacking round the corner, really going for it. Abraham is retreating, Eubank pummeling him! The instructions from the corner were to "toy" with the Armenian but he's surviving everything he's given. Abraham lands one and Eubank turns to the crowd - a bit of showmanship - as if to say "that's nothing, pal"... and then launches into a quick burst of punching. Abraham has Eubank in the corner now!
And he's out.
Eubank is trying to put on a little bit of entertainment here but Abraham is landing a few of his punches. Lots of posturing from Eubank as that round comes to a close.
— Christopher Eubank (@ChrisEubank) July 15, 2017
Strong jabs by Eubank but they're just bouncing off Abraham's arms. Eubank gets a powerful body shot in .
Eubank is getting nice and close, looking for that opening but there simply isn't one.
Eubank is tucking up in the corner but Abraham doesn't attack and Eubank has a chance to come out. Abraham strings a combination of punches together but Eubank deals with it easily.
And there's a big left! Ooohhhhh that was very close to landing on Abraham's chin... well... it looked it at first but he's a fair distance away on the replay. Abraham comes away laughing about it.
The commentators reckon Abraham is feeling the pace here... but he's just landed a big left hand to the body and is attacking more from the start of this round.
Abraham needs to get closer to get anything on Eubank but is also acutely aware that Eubank is stupidly fast.
Great shot by Eubank, he lands a hook over the top and Abraham responds. Eubank now giving Abraham some distance - the Armenian knows he's losing this at the moment.
"He's open round the sides.. if you lower your hands, his go up," says Eubank Snr in the corner.
Eubank's landed an uppercut but Abraham pushes him off and shrugs as itf to say "is that all?". Eubank keeps coming, lands another... but still Abraham toys with him. That's a risky tactic - a good three or four of those punches got through the guard.
Eubank gets close, throws a flurry of punches to the body and a couple up high but Abraham has his arms up and still he can't get past it.
Abraham is trying to work his way in and lands a couple himself. That seems to the idea - let Eubank go nuts and punch himself out, then attack at the end of the round.
Eubank is working Abraham, looking for that uppercut through the middle but it's just really difficult to get anything past his guard! Abraham lands a right hand as Eubank has his guard low - he needs to be careful with that one.
Abraham throws a bunch of punches at once and Eubank encourages it, laughing, bringing him onto him. IT's picked up here and suddenly Abraham is off balance... he recovers half a second later. Just in time. Abraham is having to absorb a lot of damage here but has landed a few himself.
Great double left hook from Eubank Jr but Abraham has his guard up with high elbows. Abraham lands another jab.
Eubank Jr has started this round really well, throwing a variety of punches and has Abraham pushed back. Eubank is going for this, piling on the pressure but Abraham absorbs it all and comes back out on the front foot. Abraham takes another uppercut.
Sensible boxing from Eubank Jr here, apparently. He doesn't go all in when he has Abraham pinned back - he knows that Abraham is built to last 12 rounds here.
We're off! Abraham is guarding high, Eubank Jr testing him with some jabs and the Armenian is just trying to keep it tight and stop Eubank from firing into him.
Abraham misses with a low hook, Eubank Jr lands a three punch combo with an uppercut in the middle. Abraham has a really quick jab and Eubank is having to duck out of the way and return fire. Eubank is ridiculously fast with his punches... but Abraham lands a solid right hand.
Since you're not allowed to say "Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuumble" unless you literally are Michael Buffer, this fight has been set up with "let's get ready to go toe to tooooooooe".
Sorry, my friend, but there must be better. Well, if you're asking, "IT'S PUNCHING TIIIIIIIIME" would be my choice.
Eubank Jr bounces over the ropes
And does his little flurry of shadow punches. Abraham acts like he doesn't care.
And now we welcome the champion from Brighton, England...
Chris... Eubank... JUUUUNIOR!
There is bad language/other adult themes and lots of drug reference in this song so if you are someone who gets offended by things, it's probably a good idea not to watch the music video for the song that Eubank Jr has entered the ring to.
Eubank Jr definitely wins the battle of the entrances.
Here come the fighters
King Arthur Abraham is first to come out to the ring and his entrance music - I'm pretty sure - is from a car advert. It might be insurance actually. He looks absolutely enormous.
Also, he's just standing on the spot for ages while his music plays. Doing some little air punches. Now he's on his way! The challenger - at 37 years old.
It's absolutely bouncing in Wembley Arena
— Christopher Eubank (@ChrisEubank) July 15, 2017
Chris Eubank Snr on Jr
"We are the benchmark, no-one's done this. There's never been a father-son duo.
"It's like poker, you have to keep your cards close.
"It's not my name on the line, it's his name in his own right."
Lightning Lee Selby wins!
But you already knew that. A brilliant achievement and performance, particularly when you consider the circumstances.
Selby throws a blur of punches to as Barros attacks him. Barros tries to come back at him... and Selby hits him! He's down!
Barros looks gutted... he's still fighting, Selby has him on the ropes and lands some body shots. Barros survives for now but he must know his fight is up. Great punch from Selby to start all of that.
Selby finishes really well and lands some high and mid shots to take this round. There's no way he hasn't won this.
Barros coming forward. He thinks he can win this with a big shot and Selby has to be smart to avoid him.
Still Selby is in control and is able to neutralise whatever Barros tries to give him. The Argentine is getting frustrated. He'll be out like a windmill in the next round if he wants to win.
Selby has probably won every round except one so far and Barros knows it. He needs to attack and is trying to do exactly that, looking for a big left hook to knock the stuffing out of Selby.
Brilliant jab from Selby on the left, then another on the right from range, then a body shot. Barros is getting close but still unable to land a shot that can get him anywhere closet to winning this. He's running out of time!
The countdown has begun!
— Christopher Eubank (@ChrisEubank) July 15, 2017
Selby gets a right hand behind Barros' guard and is still dancing around the ring. Barros is doing similar though, bobbing and weaving in front of him.
Neither has really managed to land anything of note in the last few rounds. Lots of body work.
Not long to go until the big fight but this one is very good as it is. Selby's team are doing a lot to keep that cut above his eye closed, the boxer himself is trying to take charge and put more into his punches. He misses a big left hook.
Barros looked far more energetic in the last two rounds and Selby seems to have reacted in this one.
Barros is on the front foot, lands a really strong body shot and then tries to pull Selby into a scrap at close range.
The Argentine is dominating this round as well, Selby trying to keep him at bay with quick jabs.
Ding ding ding. Another fairly even round.
Barros has stepped it up a bit and has come out urgently, looking to attack Selby. Barros lands a a decent looking uppercut but without causing too much damage, Selby's still moving well and looking to regain control of the fight.
That's been a fairly even round but Barros is certainly creeping his way into it.
Barros is on the floor! He's thrown off balance and stumbles to the ground but not from a match changing punch - he's just a little bit discombobulated.
Selby's picked up a cut over his right eye now and it's trickling blood. He needs to get through this round and get that seen too because clearly it's going to have an affect on his fight. Barros is attacking and trying to tak advatage of it.
He's made it and not he can get that seen to. It looks like a head clash has caused the cut, which is just above his eyebrow.
Barros' mouth piece goes flying as Selby lands some fast punches on him and the referee is quick to realise and make sure he gets it back.
Barros needs to close the gap down - he can't get close to Selby, who is dancing around, constantly moving, darting in and out and landing quick jabs before ducking out of reach. Selby lands a strong right hand on the side of the temple and Barros looks a wee bit dizzy after it, which is understandable really.
Selby's got this.
The commentators are drowning Selby in praise for his movement just as he seems to drop his guard for a second - Barros lands a smart jab on him. Selby seems to look up in the air, momentarily rolling his eyes at allowing that to happen - still, at the moment, Selby is in control of this.
First two rounds
You'd think Selby's taken both those rounds. He puts together a couple of really neat combinations and pushes Barros to the ropes, but the Argentinian has his gloves up and takes all that Selby has to offer.
Selby's mixing it up with high then low shots, moving well in the ring to stay out of Barros' reach.
IBF featherweight championship of the world fight underway
Selby has nice little gold sparkly tassels on his boots and is doing all the exploration at the start of this first round, testing Barros with some jabs on his left foot. Barros lands a decent body shot. Patient stuff so far.
Prayers before the fight
Lee Selby's team have allowed ITV into the dressing room to see the pre-fight build-up and in particular, the prayer that his team gives/says. Selby's mother died a few days ago, but he says he's focused on the task at hand.
"I'm OK, I'm good. I'm here to do a job, and a job is what I'll do. [I'll] stay focused, stay professional.
"Saturday night I'm going to get a win and travel back home to Barry.
"Family comes first. In my life, that's what comes first. Family and boxing - that's all I am."
Lee Selby vs Jonathan Victor Barros
There's one more undercard fight before the big event to come.
Ward thinks he's done enough...
Maybe they do like each other after all. The final bell goes and both players embrace with wide smiles - this is mega close and we'll need to see what the decision is.
Both corners think they've won it, both boxers think they've won it... and the winner is...
115 to 114, 116 to 114, 116 to 113....
It's Martin J Ward! He's the second traveller ever to win this particular belt outright, apparently. Anthony Cacace isn't happy about it - it's his first professional loss.
Behind the scenes
The coverage and access we now get of these elite athletes thanks to things like Twitter and the internet really is great.
— Christopher Eubank (@ChrisEubank) July 15, 2017
Ward and Cacace genuinely don't seem to like each other very much (and not just because they are currently in a boxing ring punching each other) and are trading blows in the 11th round at the moment. Both keep turning to the referee, visibly annoyed by little things the other is doing and both were given a stern talking to earlier on about it too.
Not sure how I feel about this
That's from the weigh-in, where Eubank Jr pulled off a weird Superman glove thing. And no I won't be saying that to his face.
Former world middleweight champion Darren Barker's opinion
“I do give Arthur Abraham a real chance against Eubank because he brings so much experience at the very top level of the sport. You can’t buy that type of knowledge.
"It is a cracking match-up because we have the young, up-and-coming fighter against the ageing warrior and I know Abraham is a very proud boxer.
"Abraham has been in with some very big lads and stood up to all of them. He has been in the ring with the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward and not flinched, so Eubank is up against a very tough customer."
Hello boxing fans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's big fight. At the time of writing it's the fifth round in the Martin Joseph Ward vs Anthony Cacace undercard but behind the scenes, a certain someone is getting nice and toasty warm for some punching:
— Christopher Eubank (@ChrisEubank) July 15, 2017
What is it?
Chris Eubank Jnr will defend his IBO Super Middleweight title against Arthur Abraham, himself a former three-time, two-weight world champion.
When is it?
The fight takes place this Saturday on July 15. The SSE Arena Wembley will be the venue for the bout.
What time is it?
The main event will be the fifth and final fight of the evening. Live coverage of the undercard begins at 6:30pm.
What TV channel is it on?
The fight will be shown live on ITV Box Office. The channel was launched in December last year to coincide with Eubank's defence against Renold Quinlan.
What are they saying?
Chris Eubank Jnr has been in bullish mood ahead of his title defence.
"I'm right at the the top of my game - so it's highly appropriate that this amazing ring with the London skyline as a backdrop is where we're facing off. "I'm aiming for the stars - to be vicious and strong in the ring, and to reach the peak of my powers on Saturday night."
"Anybody that steps into the ring I have respect for, but this is my time now.
"This is the next generation. I have been preparing all my life to fight the best and now i've got the opportunity to fight one of the top super-middleweight's in the world."
"I don't really need to focus on his tactics, I'll show you all when i'm in the ring." said Eubank's challenger, Arthur Abraham.
Chris Eubank Senior, the former world champions at middleweight, admitted he had tried to 'break' his son in preparation for a career in boxing.
"I’ve given him the best tutelage. The reason people get it wrong is they help them, I didn’t help him, I put pressure on him. I tried to break him. But this is why he’s winning."
In an interview on ITV's Loose Women alongside his father, Eubank Jnr insisted he is very different fighter in terms of his style in and out of the ring.
"I don’t wear a monocle and drive a truck. In terms of my fighting style, it’s very marmite. I have a lot of people that love it, and I have some people who don’t love it so much.
"They say I might be a bit too brash or cocky. What they don’t understand is when you’re in a fight, when you’re fighting in front of millions of people on live television, it brings a beast out inside you and that is what they’re seeing.
"It’s not me pretending. It’s not me looking for attention, that’s just how I am in my fight situation.
"That’s what gets me through these hardships, and they are hardships, they’re wars, they’re fights, you’re getting punched in the face by another man – it’s not fun.”
What are the odds?
Chris Eubank 1/8 Arthur Abraham 5/1 Draw 33/1