Chris Eubank Jr. says he believes Conor Benn will never escape the shadow of his failed drugs tests but says he still expects to fight him one day and wants to do it in the UK, even though Benn has relinquished his British license.
Eubank lost out on a multi-million pound purse when his fight with Benn in October was scrapped after it emerged that Benn had failed a doping test for clomifene, a female fertility drug. He later admitted that he had failed an earlier test for the same substance, something Eubank said he was never told about.
While Benn says he is looking to clear his name, Eubank is getting on with his career and will box Liam Smith in Manchester on January 21.
But despite the first fight with Benn falling apart and the secrecy about the first failed test, Eubank says he believes they will box one day.
“I was never told about the first failed drugs test, which is pretty incredible but true,” Eubank said. “Nobody told me, Conor nor Eddie (Hearn), nobody told me.
“In the back of my mind - when I found out he had failed a test - I hoped it might have been a freak accident or something had gone wrong, a blip.
“But when you find out there was a second one, you realize that these guys were really out to get me.
“I was never told about the July test. I would not have accepted the fight at the start of August if I had known that he had failed a test. By the time I did find out it was too late. It was a very bad situation for me and for boxing and the fans.”
Eubank says he has some sympathy for Benn, but says he will have to get himself out of the mess that has been created.
“I feel bad for the kid, he has really messed up and he will have to answer for his wrongdoings eventually,” Eubank said.
“He has gone MIA for the last few months and that says it all because if you have done nothing wrong then you don’t hide.
“Before all this he was on Instagram every single day and now nobody knows where he is. It is a bad look and he is going to have to man-up at some point.
“Even if, by some miracle, he is found not guilty, everybody already thinks he cheated. A lawyer, a piece of paper, or the King of England can say he is forgiven, it doesn’t matter, he is guilty in the court of public perception, and he has to accept that. That’s the only way he will be able to move forward.
“If he plays the victim and blames contamination and says everyone has it in for him, if he keeps going down that route, then nobody is going to be able to forgive him.”
Eubank says he is not ready to forgive and forget, but he certainly hasn't closed the door to the fight.
“There is no forgetting, and I don’t know about forgiving,” he said.
“That fight is still probably going to happen down the line. I don’t need to have forgiveness in my mind. He is a guy I will fight at some point.
“Before it was about our fathers, we were fighting to uphold our names and legacies. But now it is personal and we have our own story.
“It’s such a British occasion that it would be a shame to not have it in the UK. If it happens, I will always push for it to be here for the fans, if the time comes.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.