The next generation of the Eubank-Benn rivalry will move forward despite extraordinary efforts by Chris Eubank Sr. to sabotage the event.
According to a report from The Daily Mail, Eubank Sr. plans to pull out his son, Chris Eubank Jr., from his upcoming fight with Conor Benn. The battle of second-generation contenders is scheduled to take place October 8 in front of a sellout crowd at The O2 in London. Eubank Sr. expressed concern over his son having to shrink down to the agreed-upon maximum contracted limit of 157 pounds.
“If you have a child and someone’s trying to actually take that child away from you, and do something wrong to that child, as a dad you wouldn’t let them,” Eubank Sr. told Daily Mail. “That’s all I’m doing. ‘I’ve given him my direction. If he doesn’t want to follow it, he will be dragged along.
“But he will do what is right for him. He is coming down [three pounds below 160], which cannot happen on my watch.”
Efforts to contact representatives from Matchroom, DAZN and Eubank’s team were not immediately returned as this goes to publish. However, BoxingScene.com has learned that plans remain in place for the event to move forward, of the belief that Eubank Sr. is speaking on his own behalf and not in an official team capacity.
Eubank Jr. (32-2, 23KOs) has never weighed lighter than 158 ¼ pounds during his pro career, that mark coming in an October 2014 knockout win in Liverpool.
The feat was followed by his first career defeat, dropping a twelve-round, split decision just one month later to Billy Joe Saunders. That fight took place at middleweight, where has spent most of his career save for a two-year stretch where he campaigned in the super middleweight division. His lone other defeat took place at 168, dropping a twelve-round decision to George Groves in their February 2018 WBA title fight which came in the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super middleweight tournament.
Six wins have followed, the last four of which have come at middleweight. In his most recent start, Eubank scored four knockdowns en route to a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Liam Williams on February 5 in Cardiff, Wales.
Benn (21-0, 14KOs) has spent the entirety of his six-plus year career at welterweight. The 25-year-old from Ilford, Essex has never weighed more than 148 pounds as a pro.
However, speculation has run rampant during the past several months over the possibility of a Eubank-Benn clash. It gained steam weeks after Benn’s second-round knockout of Chris van Heerden in his most recent bout on April 16 in Manchester, England. More specifically, the delay in plans for Benn to return to the ring pushed back to September and then October, from July—largely due to an inability to lock in a quality opponent—eventually led to the revelation of the third chapter in the storied Eubank-Benn rivalry.
Benn will come up ten pounds from the 147-pound welterweight limit, while Eubank drops three pounds down from middleweight. The concessions made by both sides finalized the first-ever fight between sons of boxers who fought for a world title as pros.
Eubank Sr. beat Nigel Benn via ninth-round stoppage to win the WBO middleweight title in November 1990 in Birmingham, England. Their October 1993 rematch was at super middleweight, with their WBC/WBO 168-pound title unification ending in a draw. The event took place in front of more than 42,000 at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, the bout itself lacking the savage intensity of the first meeting though fought on even terms through the bitter end as Eubank Sr. retained his WBO title and Benn his WBC belt.
The third fight in the family entry was an instant hit with the paying public, as tickets were reportedly sold out in 47 minutes. The next generation fight will come 29 years almost to the day of the second fight between the fathers.
However, another family anniversary hits closer to home for Eubank Sr. This past July 9 marked one year since the tragic passing of his younger son, Sebastian Eubank, who was just days from celebrating his 30th birthday when he died of a massive heart attack in Dubai, the fatal incident stemming from an undetected, pre-existing condition.
Naturally, the loss still resonates with Eubank Sr.—as does the paternal instinct to protect his children at all costs. It’s in that vein where he feels the need to look out for his 32-year-old fighting son.
“This is modern day “gladiating”, this is not a play thing for the audience,” noted Eubank Sr. “We have to be strict otherwise lives are put in danger and my son’s life cannot be put in danger. I’ve already lost one. It can’t happen again.’”
The declaration by the elder Eubank is his latest opposition to the matchup. The early stages of the fight being made came with Eubank Jr. all in for the fight despite the weight risk and prepared to move forward “with or without my old man there.” For now, it seems that the latter will apply come fight night.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that both fighters remain in training camp, fully on board with the fight moving forward as planned and contractually agreed-upon.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox