Boxing: Eubank sure he has the beating of Brazilian: Champion unconcerned at failure to produce knock-out punch as another opponent waits in wings

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The Independent Online
CHRIS EUBANK was in a relaxed mood when he weighed in yesterday for the 11th defence of his World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title at the Dorchester Hotel in London tonight.

Eubank scaled exactly 12st while his Brazilian opponent, Mauricio Amaral, was a couple of pounds lighter and looked less developed. However, Eubank, undefeated in 39 fights, said: 'He is a big guy and people should not write him off.'

Amaral, from the industrial town of Osasco, would appear to offer no serious threat to the 27-year-old's title, although the record sheet he brought with him reveals a respectable 21 wins, one defeat and a draw.

Managed by Abe Katznelson, who guided the career of the oustanding Brazilian fighter, Eder Jofre, Amaral won his last bout inside a round, one of six stoppages in his last seven outings.

Eubank, though, said: 'I can't say I'm too disturbed by the prospect of fighting a 22-year-old ambitious Brazilian. I'm not too worried. I've seen Amaral on tape. He has got fast hands and by his record can obviously punch. But I have two things in my favour. I've prepared with a hard-punching sparring partner in Kenny Nevins, and I've got a very good chin.'

Eubank is long overdue for a stoppage victory and appears to be a little tired of being asked when he will land the telling punch to save judges the trouble of totting up their cards. His last win inside the distance came in Manchester 27 months and nine fights ago when the American John Jarvis walked on to a booming right.

Meanwhile, Belfast's Sam Storey has been given the unexpected chance of challenging Eubank on 27 August. The 31-year-old former British champion will meet him in Cardiff, assuming there is no upset at Olympia tonight.

Eubank's promoter, Barry Hearn, is expected to confirm Storey as the opponent for stage two of the Brighton champion's pounds 10m world tour with Sky Television next week.

Storey, a southpaw, trains at Barney Eastwood's camp in Belfast along with Ray Close, the WBO's No 1 challenger, who has failed narrowly twice to dethrone the champion.

Rated at No 6 by the WBO, the Belfast boxer has been beaten only once since losing his British crown to the Londoner James Cook three and a half years ago. His most recent success was against the British title challenger, Fidel Castro Smith, on the supporting bill to the Eubank-Close fight at the King's Hall in May.

The British Boxing Board of Control have denied Storey the opportunity to challenge for the British title because he apparently has an outstanding fine of pounds 100, though this opportunity will more than make up for it.

In the meantime, Close, the man Storey regularly spars with, is still hoping to get another bout against Eubank within the next 12 months.