Conor Benn wasn’t about to drive a hard bargain for an opportunity that could very well catapult him to new heights in the British boxing scene.
The rising, hard-charging welterweight contender said his negotiations with middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. were drawn out primarily because of Eubank’s myriad demands. In the end, a deal was made and announced last week. The British compatriots will face each other Oct. 8 at The O2 Arena in London in a catchweight bout set at 157 pounds.
Benn, 25, said Eubank, 32, made all sorts of requests during their talks, many of them having more to do with presentation than the actual fight. Benn said he “let him have” these stipulations in order to get the deal over the line.
“There were numerous things (delays caused by Eubank during negotiations),” Benn told BBC 5 Live Boxing. “His ego kept getting in the way. [Eubank wanted] ringwalk second, home corner, his name first on the bill, all of that. Everybody knows its Benn-Eubank, but anyway, we let him have Eubank-Benn. So we let him have all of that. We was arguing about all of that and I just, you know what, just let him have it all…my ego ain’t that big.
“If he feels like he needs all that, then that’s fine. Just give me an eighteen-foot ring and we’re good.”
In addition to the catchweight, the fight features a rehydration clause, which figures to impede Eubank more than Benn. A career 147-pounder, Benn will leapfrog essentially two divisions in his fight with Eubank.
Despite their personal differences, Benn made it clear that he does not hold any animosity toward his adversary, noting that their respective, distinct lineage makes them bound to certain traits; their fathers, Chris Eubank Sr. and Nigel Benn, were blood rivals and boxing icons during the early 1990s.
“We’re just different,” Benn said. “The apple don’t fall far from the tree. He’s exactly like his dad, and I’m exactly like mine. Our approach has been completely different in the pro game. He is what he is and I am what I am.”
Benn says he does not feel any added pressure to perform on the night of Oct. 8.
“I work extremely hard,” Benn said. “I leave everything in the gym. I do as much as I can, I do the best I can. Why have I got to feel the pressure? I’ve done this too many times, I’ve entertained too many times for this to now just go, all of a sudden, it’s going to make me crumble.”