British middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr has offered to return his Lonsdale belt to its former owner, Nick Blackwell, despite not owning the belt outright.
The gesture was made on Tuesday morning on ITV1’s Good Morning Britain, but Blackwell’s friend and former promoter, Mick Hennessy, aware that Eubank Jr needs three successful defences of the title before he can call it his own, is of the opinion that it’s not much more than a publicity stunt at this stage.
“On the face of it, it seems like a really kind gesture from Chris,” said Hennessy, “but, unfortunately, he has no right to make those sort of claims. The belt he currently has isn’t his to give away.
“Once he has made three defences of the title, and won it outright, he can do what he wants with it. It will be his to keep. But, until then, anything he says in relation to handing the belt over to Nick has to be viewed, in my opinion, as pure opportunism.”
Eubank Jr won the British middleweight title on March 26, 2016 at The SSE Arena, Wembley. In accordance to the time-honoured rules, though, he must make three successful defences of the belt to claim it outright (at which point a new belt is created). If unsuccessful, or if he decides to vacate his position, the same belt is then passed on to the next champion.