Boxing: Eubank moves up in weight

CHRIS EUBANK will move up two weight divisions to challenge Carl Thompson for his World Boxing Organisation cruiserweight title at Manchester's Nynex Arena on 18 April.

Eubank had been used to campaigning in the 12 stone super-middleweight division, but this time will not have any weight making problems with the cruiser limit being 13st 8lb.

"I will be coming in with a little podgy stomach which will enable me to soak up the body punches," said Eubank, dressed in his usual outfit of riding boots, jodhpurs and walking stick. "Losing that weight [last time] wasn't easy."

It will be Eubank's 23rd WBO championship bout, having had four at middleweight and 18 at super-middle, where he reigned from September 1991 until March 1995.

Eubank will, though, be coming off a losing streak, having been beaten by Ireland's Steve Collins (twice) and the Welshman Joe Calzaghe in his last three title engagements.

The Calzaghe defeat came in October in Sheffield when, after being floored in the opening round, he lost the vacant title fight on points.

That was his 50th contest and his chin will need to be up to its normal strength for this 51st against Thompson, who will be fighting in his home city.

Thompson, a former kick-boxing champion, is a big puncher and is in his second reign as WBO titleholder.

He lost it first time around in freak circumstances when he retired against Germany's Ralf Rocchigiani in Manchester in June, 1995. But Thompson travelled to Germany last October to outpoint Rocchigiani to regain the title.