Rematch with Saunders on Eubank's to-do list

LONDON -- When Chris Eubank Jr. fell off his chair before the postfight news conference Saturday, it was about the only mistake he had made all night.

Eubank had just dominated and forced two counts against former IBF world super middleweight champion James DeGale on his way to a 114-112, 115-112 and 117-109 unanimous decision win at The O2 Arena in North Greenwich.

Eubank (28-2, 21 KOs) felt he silenced those who doubted he belonged at the elite level after points defeats to George Groves, for the WBA world super middleweight title a year ago, and to Billy Joe Saunders, at middleweight in 2014.

"This was a career-defining fight, it was make or break, I had to win it to make a statement," Eubank said. "I want to challenge for the world titles and fight the big names. Whatever the best route is, I will take.

"People were saying I couldn't mix it at world level, and I needed to prove that was wrong. Hopefully, I've made some of the doubters into believers."

Eubank, 29, regained the fringe IBO super middleweight title with a victory over English rival DeGale, but his father and manager, Chris Eubank Sr., a world champion at super middleweight and middleweight in the 1990s, said a return to middleweight could be in the pipeline.

"He fought at 12 stones one pound [169 pounds] tonight -- he's a middleweight, really," said the elder Eubank.

"The only reason he went up to super middleweight was because of the World Boxing Super Series and the bumper financial deal. It's maybe time to move down."

Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) -- who, it was recently announced, will face Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO world super middleweight title in London on April 13 -- tweeted his desire to face English rival Eubank in a rematch.

Saunders lost the WBO middleweight title after he was refused a license for a title defense against Demetrius Andrade in Massachusetts in October because of a positive test for oxilofrine. Saunders has since registered one non-title win.

"Absolutely, we have history," Eubank said about the possibility of a rematch.

"He has been caught doing drugs, which I can't condone, but with the rivalry that we have, it's tough not to want that fight."

DeGale (25-3-1, 15 KOs), 33, said he would consider retirement after being given counts in the second and 10th rounds.

Eubank's punch power bothered DeGale, who could not establish his jab and did not look at the same level he was at while world champion between May 2015 and December 2017. DeGale, who has been dogged by injuries and been in tough fights against the likes of Badou Jack, won back the IBF belt last year after losing it in a big upset to Caleb Truax.

But Eubank was smarter Saturday, and the Brighton boxer said he benefited from working with a full-time trainer for the first time in his career after hiring American Nate Vasquez late last year.

"I tried to do smart pressure and attack at the right times," Eubank said.

"Nate brought focus to the buildup and preparation. He brought a tailored training camp, and we had a strategy for the fight, which worked."

Eubank has yet to hold one of the four recognized world title belts and is ranked at No 3 and 4 with the WBC and WBA world governing bodies.