The moment Nigel Benn was told by his son Conor that he was going to fight his biggest rival’s son, he began making arrangements to fly to England from his home in Australia so he could spend all training camp with him. The moment Chris Eubank was informed by his son, Chris Jr, that the fight was on, he stopped taking his calls.
It’s been almost 30 years since Benn and Eubank faced off in one of the fiercest rivalries in British sport, but the 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 which will be shown live on DAZN PPV.
Initially, it was talked about as a bit of a whimsical fight, two sons settling their fathers’ argument. But now it’s reality, Benn Sr was immediately thrilled at the prospect.
“He’s hovering, he’ll probably be a little excited,” Conor said. “He lives his career through me now, so he’s as emotionally involved in this fight as I am, probably more.
“I see a rivalry that is ending. I see myself handling something that my father couldn’t. You know I’m going to have to piss him off about this, right? ‘Don’t worry dad, I know you couldn’t take it, I’ll do it for you’. We are both confident that I will come out with the win.
Eubank Sr won the duo’s first clash at the NEC Birmingham in 1990. Three years later, the rematch ended in an unsatisfactory draw in front of 45,000 fans at Old Trafford.
The third fight never happened, but the fire never left Benn, in particular. He even attempted to come out of retirement in his 50s in hopes of getting another chance against his rival.
While Nigel plans to be involved in all the preparation for his son, Eubank Sr, who was happy to be in the spotlight when Chris Jr first turned professional, has disappeared.
“I haven’t seen him 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 understand. take from him. It’s crazy when you look at how he was, certainly at the beginning of my career. He was super emotionally invested in all my fights, even in my press conferences, he was always at the first In my corner on fight night, he was still there and, on the other hand, Conor’s dad wasn’t.
“It’s funny how the tables are turned now, Conor’s dad is fully in and wants to be involved and my old man has gone MIA, missing. I know he wanted me to wait. He said that the fight would be bigger if you wait another year, both get a few more wins, build the fight, build the rivalry, then kick off in a football stadium next year, with more money, more visibility.
“I wasn’t ready to wait. The opportunity is here now. Yeah, we could make more money if we wait another year, but other things can happen and I wasn’t ready to pass up this opportunity. There have been times in my career where things have been presented to me and I’ve waited and they haven’t materialized. So we’re going to start in a few months, with or without my dad’s blessing.
For a long time, the fight was seen as something of a joke. Eubank is much more experienced and places two weights higher. But Benn has improved dramatically over the past two years, displaying the kind of destructive style that made his father such a big star.
“I learn day by day how to knock someone out,” Conor 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 taught you everything you know, but I didn’t teach you everything I know”.
Although the two sons do not share the antagonism of their fathers, there are still two months of preparation for this to simmer gently. Yesterday, the pair briefly came face to face at the May Fair Hotel, just off Berkeley Square, where they were doing media interviews. Today is the official press conference – and things might start to get tasty.
“It really is a fantastic fight, a legacy fight, a fun fight for the audience,” Conor added. “It’s not even like Eubank Jr and I are that different from our dads, we’re exactly like our dads. He carries the same personality and I am who I am.
“They were just two completely different people and there is bound to be a clash when they are so different. Even Chris Sr and my dad don’t really get along anymore. And the apples don’t fall far from the tree.
“I’m looking forward to the press conferences, it’s going to be funny, it’s going to be interesting. I don’t know what his approach is, he might come out with his witty words. Listen, I don’t hate this man. He’s this that it is.”
It’s really a fantastic fight, a legacy fight, a fun fight for the audience
Eubank Jr also insists there is no blame between the two, but says that at heart this fight is about family pride.
“It’s personal,” Chris Jr. said. “Not because I don’t like Conor. I’m indifferent, he didn’t do anything to make me hate him. what his father did to my father.
“There was a lack of respect. This rivalry was real bad blood. He hurt my dad in those fights, even the one my dad won. I saw the consequences, I saw the stress in the accumulation, the time spent and the injuries afterwards. It stuck with me. His dad did this to my dad. I want to keep my last name. I want to make sure the Eubank name stays on top. Because, at the moment, it’s at the top: a victory, a draw; the name Eubank trumps the name Benn in boxing, that’s just a fact.
“Nigel Benn is emotionally invested. This is his redemption shot. His son beats me, that’s how he recovers from his loss to my father. I don’t let that happen, I don’t do that to my dad. I don’t give that comfort to his nemesis. They have to know their place and the Eubanks are No. 1.”