Chris Eubank Jr. packed his bags and headed to the Florida panhandle with the intention of changing everything about his boxing career.
Not quite on his list of expectations was helping his trainer beating the Brit to the squared circle in the unlikeliest of ring returns.
“If somebody told me last year that I’d be training with Roy helping him get ready for Mike Tyson, I’d have said you’re out of your damn mind,” Eubank Jr. joked to BoxingScene.com of the development. “But we’re here, we’re doing it. This is really happening.”
Eubank will be on hand with Pensacola’s Jones (66-7, 49KOs)—the 51-year old former four-division champion—for a celebrated eight-round exhibition match with fellow retired ring legend, 54-year old former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (50-6, 44KOs). The two collide November 28, live on Triller Pay-Per-View from a crowdless Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The exhibition match is scheduled for eight two-minute rounds, without headgear but wearing oversized 12-ounce gloves in lieu of the standard 10-ounce that comes with heavyweight fights. Jones has prepared for the event while doubling his time between head trainer—including his having taken in England’s Eubank (29-2, 22KOs) since March—and whipping himself back into fighting shape.
“It’s been a hell of an experience,” admits Eubank, who is training for his own ring return, which he hopes will take place in December. “He is taking this super serious. You have to when you’re facing one of the most devastating knockout artists of all time. Regardless of age, the power is the last thing you use. Roy has been fully dedicated to training.”
That level of dedication has resonated with Eubank, who insists his months of being isolated in Pensacola and in the presence of Jones has been transformational. Even more inspiring to the second-generation boxer and current middleweight contender from Brighton, England is seeing even an aged version of his current mentor turn back the clock when it comes to conditioning and preparation.
“The good thing about Roy is that he never fully left the gym,” notes Eubank. “Whether he was training guys or just working out himself, he’s always been active. Whereas Mike has taken a long layoff. That is where I think it lies heavily in Roy’s favor. It didn’t take him long at all to get back in the swing of things whereas I’d imagine it took a hell of a lot for Mike to get back into fight shape.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox