Eubank Jr vs Benn Exclusive: ‘Nigel ready for legacy fight but Chris Sr is MIA’

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The moment Nigel Benn was told by his son Conor that he would fight the son of his biggest rival, he began making arrangements to fly to England from his home in Australia so he could spend the entire training camp with him. The moment his son Chris Eubank told Chris Eubank the fight was on, he stopped taking his calls.

It’s almost 30 years since Benn and Eubank clashed in one of British sport’s fiercest rivalries, but passions still run deep. On October 8 at the O2 Arena in London, the sons of the two legends will meet in the ring, a fight that will be shown live on DAZN PPV.

At first it was talked about as some kind of fantasy battle, two sons settling their fathers’ dispute. But now that it’s a reality, Ben Sr. is instantly excited by the prospect.

“He’s flying over, he’ll probably be a little excited,” Connor said. “Now he’s living his career through me, so he’s as emotionally involved in this fight as I am, probably more.

“I see a rivalry ending. I can see myself doing something my father couldn’t. You know I’m going to have to wind him up for that, right? “Don’t worry dad, I know you can’t handle it, I’ll handle it for you.” We are both confident that I will come away with the win.”

Eubank senior won the pair’s first clash at NEC Birmingham in 1990. Three years later, the return ended in a disappointing draw in front of 45,000 fans at Old Trafford.

The third fight never happened, but the fire never left Ben, especially. He even tried to come out of retirement in his fifties in hopes of getting another shot at his rival.

While Nigel plans to be involved in all of his son’s training, Eubank Sr, who was happy to grab the limelight when Chris Jr first turned pro, has disappeared.

“I haven’t seen or heard from him in a few days since the fight was announced, which is shocking,” Chris Jr. said. “I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing, but I can’t figure out hold him. It’s crazy when you look at what he was like, certainly early in my career. He was super-emotionally invested in all my fights, even in my press conferences, he was always front and center. In my corner on fight night, he was always there and, on the other hand, Connor’s father was gone.

Chris Eubank Sr. and Nigel Benn first fought in 1990, with Eubank winning in Birmingham

/ Getty Images

“It’s weird to see the roles reversed now, Conor’s dad is all set and wants to be involved and my old man is missing in action. I know you wanted me to wait. He said the fight will be bigger if you wait another year, and both of them get a few more wins, build the fight, build the rivalry and then continue it in a football stadium next year, with more money, more exposure.

“I didn’t want to wait. The opportunity is here now. Yes, we might make more money if we wait another year, but other things can happen and I wasn’t ready to give up on the opportunity. There have been times in my career when things have been presented to me and I’ve waited, but they haven’t materialized. So we will in a few months, with or without my father’s blessing.

For a long time, the battle was perceived as something of a joke. Eubank is much more experienced and boxes two weight classes higher. But Ben has improved dramatically over the past two years, displaying the disruptive style that made his father such a big star.

Their second bout in 1993 ended in a disappointing draw, and a third bout never materialized

/ Getty Images

“They teach me day in and day out how to knock someone out,” Conner said. “The way I have this predatory finish is natural, but my trainer [Tony Sims] taught me everything I know. Tony always tells me, “I’ve taught you everything you know, but I haven’t taught you everything I know.”

While the two sons don’t share the antagonism that their fathers had, there’s still two months of build-up to keep it simmering. Yesterday, the pair briefly met face-to-face at The May Fair Hotel, just off Berkeley Square, where they gave interviews to the media. There’s an official press conference today – and things might start to get tasty.

“It really is a fantastic fight, a legacy fight, a fun fight for the crowd,” Conor added. “Even Eubank Jr. and I are not that different from our fathers, we are just like our fathers. He carries the same personality and I am who I am.

“They were just two completely different people and there was bound to be a clash when they were so different. Even Chris Sr. and my dad don’t really get along now. And the apples don’t fall far from the tree.

“I’m looking forward to the press conferences, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be interesting. I don’t know what his approach is, maybe he comes off with his smug one-liners. Look, I don’t hate the guy. He is what he is.’

It really is a fantastic fight, a legacy fight, a fun fight for the crowd

Eubank Jr. also insists there is no feud between the pair, but says at heart this fight is about family pride.

“It’s personal,” Chris Jr. said. “It’s not because I don’t like Conor. I’m indifferent, he hasn’t done anything to make me dislike him. That may change. Where it gets personal is what his father put my father through.

“There was disrespect. This rivalry was really bad blood. He hurt my father in those battles, even the one my father won. I saw the aftermath, I saw the stress in the build up, the time away and the injuries afterwards. That’s what I’m left with. His father did this to my father. I want to protect my family name. I want to make sure Eubank’s name stays at the top. Because at the moment he is at the top: one win, one draw; the name Eubank wins in boxing over the name Benn, that’s just a fact.

“Nigel Benn is emotionally involved. This is his chance at redemption. His son beats me, this is how he copes with the loss of my father. I will not let this happen, I will not do this to my father. I do not give that comfort to his eternal enemy. They have to know their place, and the Eubanks are No. 1.”

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