It was many happy returns for Marcus Morrison when he received the phone call that could change his life. On the day he turned 28, completely out of the blue, he was offered a shot at Chris Eubank Jr.
“It came up on my birthday, March 9,” Marcus said. “I got a call from Joe [Gallagher] and it was a massive shock to me. Joe said he’d had a phone call off the Sauerland’s and an offer had been made. He didn’t say who it was against at first. When he said Eubank Jr, I said, ‘let’s do it!’ It’s a massive fight and one I can’t wait for. If I pull this off, it upsets the odds massively and takes my career to new heights.”
The Manchester middleweight takes on Eubank (29-2-0) on a Matchroom pay-per-view card that also features his stablemate Natasha Jonas, who challenges Irish superstar Katie Taylor for all the lightweight belts.
“It’s a great opportunity for Marcus,” said Morrison’s trainer and manager Joe Gallagher. “I don’t think there’s a middleweight in the country that would’ve turned it down. We negotiated a little, got him good money, not too much because we know someone else would take it for less!
“He’s on the verge of a British title shot with [Denzel] Bentley fighting [Felix] Cash, but he had to fight an eliminator. I just think this is a great fight for him, profile wise, and it’s a great chance. Chris Eubank Jr has been out of the ring a while and he’ll be wanting to impress with his new trainer Roy Jones Jr. For Marcus, no-one’s expecting him to win. I know we’re a massive underdog, but we’re a very live underdog.
“I like Eubank Jr. He comes for a fight, and that’s what he does – fight! We’re not talking about a boxing purist here; he comes for a fight and it’s literally a street fight. That’s what we’ll prepare Marcus for.”
Eubank’s last bout, in December 2019, was over within two rounds when he beat Matvey Korobov at the Barclays Centre, New York. Before that, he picked up a unanimous verdict over Olympic gold medalist and former world champion James DeGale. There is no doubt Eubank has mixed in superior company, only losing on points in close fights to Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves.
In contrast, winning the WBC international silver middleweight title has been the highlight to date for Morrison (23-3-0) who travelled to Italy in July 2019, stopping local favourite Emanuele Blandamura late in the fight.
That night in Rome put Morrison back on track after a couple of bumpy years. The Manchester fighter’s world came crashing down with his first defeat in a torrid, bruising battle against Jason Welborn. Marcus believes experiences like that, have helped prepare him for the test of facing Eubank Jr.
“Looking back then [Welborn fight], I was a boy,” he explained. “I had the skills, but I don’t think I was ready for those rough, rugged men. Now I’ve matured, my body’s matured, I feel like I’ve grown into a real strong middleweight now. What better time to go and test yourself against someone who’s said to be world level? You want to test yourself against the best in the biggest fights. What an idiot I’d be if I turned down a fight like this!
“I’m 28, coming up to my peak. I’m at the best place of my career now, mentally, and physically. I think now is the perfect time for a fight like this.”
Along with Eubank Jr v Morrison and Taylor v Jonas, the Matchroom pay-per-view card on May 1 features Campbell Hatton’s second professional fight, Dimitry Bivol v Craig Richards and heavyweights Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker.