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Abass Baraou hopes to get his career back on track against Sam Eggington

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Abass Baraou – Photo by Leigh Dawney/Wasserman Boxing.

It’s been a long and frustrating journey for Abass Baraou, but one that will come full circle when he faces Sam Eggington for the vacant European junior middleweight title at the Telford International Centre, Telford, England, on Friday.

Baraou was a touted up-and-comer when he met the more experienced Jack Culcay in the summer of 2020. On that summer’s evening the two fought a close battle but Culcay was judged to have done enough to edge past his compatriot by 12-round split decision.

In the following three-and-a-half years, the Germany-based Baraou has fought just five times, and has not been able to gain any traction by enticing any of the top fighters at 154-pounds to face him and had to make do with stay-busy fights while biding his time.

“I was trying to get back to my level as quick as possible and then everything dragged out,” Baraou (14-1, 9 knockouts) told The Ring. “COVID was in between, and other different issues, but I was always working in the gym and improving.

“Sam Eggington is one of the big fights I need to be in. I’m on a good route right now and that’s what keeps me going and motivates me. I feel it is the perfect time now to get into this fight and hopefully being more active than in the past years.”

Facing the ultra-aggressive Brit will show just where Baraou is after his time in the boxing wilderness.

“I think it’s a great fight, fighting a warrior like Sam Eggington, also for the European title,” he said. “He comes all night, he doesn’t back off, he doesn’t duck and fight, he keeps coming and is a tough man but I think I will expose him on fight night. His skill and the gaps he leaves open, I will be able to show how skilful and technical I am.

“I’m very excited to get into such a big fight with a worthy opponent. I can’t wait for the fight to happen.”

The 29-year-old, who was a standout amateur winning gold at the European Championships and bronze at World Championships in 2017 before turning professional April 2018, has experience fighting all over the world and isn’t bothered about being the away fighter.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be me and him in the ring, and it could be anywhere,” he said. “I’ve fought already on many stages and I don’t really care where it is. I just want to fight and see good things happen.”

In preparation, Baraou headed to Miami in October and set up camp with Jorge Rubio.

Abass Baraou (right) – Photo by Leigh Dawney/Wasserman Boxing.

“We were trying to make [the EBU title fight] happen last year with [JJ] Metcalfe, and he pulled out and we went on Sam Eggington. He accepted the fight right away, it was easy to make the fight,” he said. “I also had a fight in Orlando staying busy. I fought a strong Cuban fighter [Hugo Noriega (UD 8)]. It was good to have this 8-round fight before jumping into the 12-round [fight.]”

Baraou hopes to use the EBU title as a springboard to the world scene.

“My dream is to become a world champion and that’s a journey I had to take and to be European champion is a stop on the way,” he explained. “I’m very exited for this opportunity. I can’t wait to be European champion and continue the journey.

“I’m just excited and I can’t wait to be in the ring and for everybody to see that fight.”

Eggington (34-8, 20 KOs) has been a professional since 2012. The Birmingham native fought in two Prizefighter contests and went on to claim British and Commonwealth welterweight titles and scored impressive wins over crosstown rival Frankie Gavin (TKO 8) and former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi (KO 8). He added the European title but lost it to fleet-footed Mohamed Mimoue (SD 12).

The 30-year-old resurfaced at junior middleweight where he was surprisingly stopped by Hassan Mwakinyo (TKO 2) and then lost to former world champion Liam Smith (TKO 5) and fellow Brit Ted Cheeseman (UD 12). However, he stayed relevant with several wins over the likes of former world titleholder Carlos Molina (UD 12), unbeaten pair Bilel Jkitou (SD 12) and Przemslaw Zysk (UD 12) before he was derailed by Dennis Hogan (MD 12) in Australia. To his credit, in his most recent outing he impressively stopped Joe Pigford (TKO 5).

Eggington will certainly test Baraou’s resolve and make it uncomfortable for the German. If Baraou can ride that out his greater skill set should come to the fore. I can see Baraou coming on in the second half to win a competitive 12-round unanimous decision.

Baraou-Eggington will be broadcast on in the U.K. Channel 5 at 10:00 p.m. GMT

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].

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