British Middleweight prospect Alan Higgins has targeted a showdown with fellow unbeaten star Chris Eubank Jr by the end of next year. Higgins, 25, improved to 5-0 (3 KOs) last month with a points victory over Dan Blackwell in the Camden Centre in London, and he believes he has the ability to dethrone the son of the former Middleweight and Super Middleweight World Champion.
‘I’d fight him tomorrow’ Higgins told Ringnews24.com when asked about Eubank. ‘I’m not the kind of person that calls anyone out, but I don’t see why he gets all the praise. People are taking notice of him because of who his dad is. He’s boxing on Channel 5 and doing really well for himself, but I just don’t see what all the hype is. You see what Jason Ball did to him. By the end of the fight Eubank Jr was blowing hard. He can make all the excuses he wants. They said I dropped one round against Ball, but I didn’t even think I did that.’
‘I see in an interview that he said he’d knock Billy Joe Saunders out in 5 or 6 rounds, but he wouldn’t last that long himself. In fact, I don’t think he’d last 5 or 6 rounds with anyone with a bit of class who can punch. He’s got quick hands but terrible footwork; I just don’t see what all the hype is. I’d take the fight tomorrow’ he said.
Many reading these words will do so with scepticism. Higgins, relatively unknown to the broader boxingcommunity, is still in the infancy of his career, and on paper has been handed the usual suspects of journeymen thus far. But if we delve deeper than the records offered to us by Boxrec, we start to see the talent which could potentially lie within the man from Kings Cross. A veteran of over 60 amateur fights, Higgins holds wins over both John Ryder and Frank Buglioni in the unpaid ranks, and cruised to a 6 round point decision over the aforementioned Jason Ball in February this year, the same Ball who pushed Eubank Jr to the limit in 2012.
Yet the two have had remarkably different careers so far. While the Eubank name is known throughout Britain, Higgins remains an obscurity. Without a promoter a year into his venture into professional boxing, Higgins has picked up fights wherever he can, while Chris strolls to the ring under the sound of ‘Simply the best’ in front of millions of viewers on terrestrial TV. Despite holding amateur victories over Ryder and Buglioni, Higgins has been ignored, while boxing pundits talks up those he has already conquered. Yet Higgins remains calm and focused, and refuses to be drawn into a debate about jealousy.
‘John and Frank have got to do what they’re doing. They’re both doing well, and I’m not jealous of them or anything like that’ he stated. ‘I’d like to think that this time next year I’ll be in that sort of position. If I have another 6 fights I’d be 12-0 so I’ll be right in the mix. They’re both doing well, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m up there myself.’
‘I want to get up there fast. I want to get a Southern Area title shot by the end of the year and that would push me up the rankings. I’ve come in under the radar, but the guys wouldn’t over look me. Guys like John and Buglioni know how good I am.’
‘I’m learning all the time’ he continued. ‘I think the Blackwell fight my best performance so far. I learned from a few mistakes I made from boxing Jason Ball. I slowed it down a little bit and won all 6 rounds comfortably, so I was pretty happy. That’s two six rounders I’ve got in now. Plus I’ve been getting loads of rounds in sparring; I’ve been doing ten rounds with James Degale so I’m always learning.’
Known to his fans as ‘The Avalanche’, Higgins doesn’t want to hang around on the outskirts of the domestic middleweight scene for long. His aim is to step up in class by September, with a potential bout with Joe Mullender mentioned; a fight which could be for the vacant Southern Area title.
‘The board rejected our application for a fight with Mullender a few months ago because neither of us had had enough experience. That was when we had both had 4 fights. I’ve now had 5 and have one more lined up in June. Joe is on the same show as well so he will have had 5 fights, so maybe the board will accept it.’
‘To be honest, I think that would be a pretty easy fight for me’ he said of his potential foe. ‘He comes to fight with his face and he doesn’t use the jab. I just don’t see how I’d have any problems with it to be honest.’
Of course, both have fights in the meantime. Mullender has a tricky assignment on June 29th in the form of Surrey’s Gary Boulden, who was exceptionally unlucky to be declared the loser in his recent bout with Scotland’s David Brophy, while Higgins fights on the same card at the York Hall in Bethnal Green against an opponent to be named.
‘I was supposed to fight Kieran Grey, but he pulled out last week. I’ll definitely be on the card though; I just need to find a new opponent. We didn’t do anything differently in the gym for Blackwell or Jason Ball, so it doesn’t matter if my opponent is a southpaw or orthodox, if I can’t beat fighters at this level I’m not going to go very far anyway. Whoever it is, I’ll be ready to fight on June 29th.’
‘But if I don’t get the Southern Area Title fight by the end of the year I won’t be too bothered because I’ll still be fighting. I’d like to have at least another 2 or 3 fights by the end of the year if I can. This is my sixth fight in a year, which isn’t bad as I don’t have a promoter. I’m only 24, so I’m still young, so I don’t want time off just yet. I want to build a record. People like Ryder and Buglioni are hogging the limelight as prospects coming through, but they’ve earned that right. They’ve been in the gym, fighting frequently and that’s what I have to do. Being at 5-0 for ages isn’t going to get me noticed. I need to get up to at least 10-0.’
The British Middleweight scene is perhaps the most competitive in world boxing. Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray have all proven themselves more than capable on the world stage. While all three came up short when challenging for world honours, Britain could feasibly have two belt holders at 160lbs by the end of the year, as London’s Barker challenges Australia’s IBF champion Daniel Geale, while Macklin squares off against the daunting Gennedy Golovkin for WBA honours later this month.
Behind those, Billy Joe Saunders rules the roost domestically. But that may not be the case for long. John Ryder, Chris Eubank Jr and Adam Etches have all targeted the Hatfield southpaw in recent months, and it is Ryder who gets the first crack at the former Olympian on the 21st September at London’s Copper Box Arena. This time next year, Alan Higgins hopes it is he challenging for domestic silverware, and not those whom he has already beaten.
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