Chris Eubank Jr forces Gary O'Sullivan to quit

By Ben DirsBBC Sport at the O2 Arena
Chris Eubank Jr
Eubank Jr is now in line for a shot at the WBA middleweight title

Chris Eubank Jr produced a sparkling performance to beat middleweight rival Gary O'Sullivan, forcing the Irishman to quit after seven rounds.

Eubank Jr, 26, showed off his full repertoire of punches, landing right uppercuts and left hooks in particular.

O'Sullivan, 31, demonstrated a granite chin and great courage but, ultimately, his corner had to step in.

Also at the O2 Arena, Essex lightweight Kevin Mitchell was stopped in the fifth round by Venezuela's Ismael Barroso.

"It was very satisfying," said Eubank Jr to Sky Sports.

"To be in the position I am now - ready to fight for the WBA world title is a dream come true.

"This is just a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

"I want everyone who has a world title. I will take all comers."

Fireworks were expected between Eubank Jr and O'Sullivan, who had been exchanging insults on social media for several years.

As if more spice was needed, Chris Eubank Sr was in his son's corner, while Eubank Sr's old rival Steve Collinsexternal-link was in O'Sullivan's.

Eubank Jr came flying out of the blocks, peppering the Cork man with an array of uppercuts and hooks in the opening two rounds.

Eubank Jr had been goaded by O'Sullivan in the build-up to the fight
Eubank Jr had been goaded by O'Sullivan in the build-up to the fight

When O'Sullivan stood up to it and came back swinging in the third, rocking Eubank Jr with a ferocious right hand, it seemed as though the Englishman might have shot his bolt.

But from thereon in it was one-way traffic, punches ricocheting off O'Sullivan's chin as he continued to plough forward. And after a seventh round in which O'Sullivan's punch output dropped appreciably, the fight was called off.

Eubank Jr now has 21 wins from 22 professional fights - his only defeat was by compatriot Billy Joe Saunders in 2014.

His stated aim is to challenge Kazakhstan's WBA champion Gennady Golovkin, who is regarded as one of the world's finest pound-for-pound boxers.

Golovkin is undefeated in 34 fights, with 31 knockouts, and has wins over British fighters Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray on his record.

Mitchell has some tough decisions to make about his future after suffering his fourth defeat in 43 pro encounters, all by knockout.

In his previous fight, the 31-year-old was tremendously courageous in losing to WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares, also from Venezuela.

Kevin Mitchell is knocked down
Kevin Mitchell has now lost four world title fights

Mitchell also came up short against Scotland's then WBO champion Ricky Burns in 2012 and Australia's Michael Katsidis in 2010.

Against Barroso, Mitchell spent four rounds wheeling away from his rival's vaunted left, only to be dropped by a short right in the fifth.

As is his habit, Mitchell stood and traded instead of running or grabbing and the fight was called off after he was clubbed to the canvas for a second time.

Mitchell, who had hoped to challenge Manchester's WBA title-holder Anthony Crolla, might now decide he is a spent force at world level and retire.

Also on the bill, Tony Bellew outpointed Poland's Mateusz Masternak to secure the European cruiserweight title and climb back into world title contention.

Bellew, 33, is a former world title challenger at light-heavyweight but has been treading water since beating Welshman Nathan Cleverly at the higher weight last November.

Bellew, who stars in the new Rocky film which is out in January, struggled to impose himself at times but ground his way to a unanimous decision.

The Liverpool fighter is ranked in the top 10 with three of the four main governing bodies and could get a second world title shot in 2016.

American two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi won the European welterweight title with a unanimous decision over Italy's Antonio Moscatiello.

Malignaggi, who is of Italian descent, had far too much experience and class for Moscatiello and barely lost a round.