Chris Eubank rose to his feet to defend family honour when George Groves lit the fuse for his super-middleweight clash with Chris Eubank Jr by questioning his opponent’s pedigree.
Tickets for the World Boxing Super Series semi-final at the Manchester Arena on February 17 sold out in seven minutes and the domestic rivals exchanged verbal blows at a press conference in central London on Tuesday.
Groves, the WBA world champion, taunted British great Eubank and his son, who holds the IBO title, by claiming the fight will be a turning point in their relationship and also mocked Jr’s social media profile.
“Junior is terrific at a soundbite, it’s made him Insta famous and it works for him,” Groves said. “But I’m sorry to say that Junior isn’t good enough, he doesn’t have the pedigree or the a ability. "This is a pivotal point in his relationship with his father. Up until now his dad has alleviated a lot of the pressure on his son."
Former middle and super-middleweight champion Eubank reacted with indignation when the pedigree of his son, who enters the fight as marginal favourite, was dismissed.
“That’s hurtful, it is hurtful! Pedigree? Oh my goodness. I wasn’t going to talk!” Eubank said. “Look at the ease with which he dispatched Arthur Abraham. This is pedigree (rising to his feet and pointing to Junior)!”
Eubank Jr. believes that Groves has never mentally recovered from his back to back stoppage defeats at the hands of Carl Froch. The second of the two defeats, in 2014, was a vicious knockout in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley in London.
"I think physically he's the same guy, not mentally. That [Froch defeat] took something out of him," Eubank Jr. told Sky Sports.
"He's a strong dude. They are both strong and all it takes is one hit. It's whether you can hold that hit. Froch can hold a hit. Groves put him down [in the first fight], he got back up. Groves, his chin is susceptible to punishment, and punishment is exactly what he is going to receive on February 17."