Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Williams are set for their middleweight grudge match, while Claressa Shields nears one of her own.
All fighters made weight for Saturday’s Boxxer event live on Sky Sports (United Kingdom) and Fite TV (North America) from Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Eubank and Williams collide in a scheduled 12-round middleweight contest, while Shields defends her WBC/WBA/IBF titles versus unbeaten challenger Ema Kozin (21-0-1, 11KOs) in the co-main event.
Brighton, England’s Eubank weighed right at the 160-pound limit, while the locally based Williams—who hails from nearby Clydach Vale—was 159 pounds, his lightest weight in nearly three years.
Eubank (31-2, 23KOs) is currently riding a five-fight win streak, with Saturday’s bout marking his third straight under the tutelage of Hall-of-Fame elected former four-division champion Roy Jones Jr. The second-generation boxer—whose father Chris Sr. was a former middleweight and super middleweight titlist—returned to middleweight in 2019 following a win over former super middleweight titlist James DeGale in his last fight in the 168-pound division.
Williams (23-3-1, 18KOs) enters on the heels of a twelve-round points loss to WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade last April in Hollywood, Florida. The bout—which marked his first major title fight along with his U.S. debut—snapped a seven-fight win streak as he returns to the U.K. where he has otherwise spent the entirety of his career. The grudge match with Eubank marks his first in Wales since September 2018.
In the co-main event, Shields checked in at a fighting fit 159 pounds for her unified title defense. Slovenia’s Kozin weighed 159 ¼ pounds for her first major title fight, having previously claimed secondary versions of the crown.
Shields (11-0, 2KOs) returns to middleweight for the first time since her shutout win over Christina Hammer in their April 2019 undisputed championship.
The two-time Olympic Gold medalist—who previously owned the super middleweight title—has since claimed undisputed championship status at junior middleweight over the course of her past two boxing fights. The most recent bout saw Shields take a ten-round decision over unbeaten Marie Eve Dicarie last March in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. The fight was followed by two trips to the octagon, where she made her MMA debut with a win last June before suffering a loss last October before deciding to return to boxing.
A win on Saturday will put Shields in line for a long-awaited showdown with old amateur rival and current WBO titlist Savannah Marshall. The two met in 2012, when Shields was 17-years-old and suffered her only boxing defeat as a pro or amateur.
The well-traveled Kozin has fought for various regional and interim titles heading into Saturday’s challenge of the three-division champ and pound-for-pound queen. The bout is her first in the U.K. and her fourth straight at middleweight since dropping down from super middleweight two years ago.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox