Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Chris Eubank Jr on Conor Benn: “I respect anyone who steps in the ring to put their health on the line but especially someone who knows what it’s like to be constantly compared to a father who was a world champion.”
Last Updated: 22/12/20 4:13pm
Chris Eubank Jr says he respects Conor Benn for dealing with “a huge burden” of following his father into the boxing ring – a perilous route they have both opted to take.
The sons of Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, who waged two fierce battles in the 1990s which remain part of British boxing legend, have each taken up the family occupation but have rarely crossed paths with each other.
“We have had a similar upbringing, a similar path through our boxing careers but he is younger than me and still has a lot more to do,” Eubank Jr told Sky Sports about Conor Benn.
Their fathers’ rivalry was so intense that the flames occasionally flicker today but Eubank Jr and Conor Benn are separated by enough weight divisions that meeting inside the ring has never been a possibility, so their respective careers have unfolded largely without each other.
“I respect anyone who steps in the ring to put their health on the line but especially someone who knows what it’s like to be constantly compared to a father who was a world champion,” Eubank Jr said.
“It is tough.
“It is a huge burden, a huge pressure and there are very few people who could handle it.
“I dealt with it and Conor is dealing with it.
“I respect that.”
Eubank Jr is seven years older and is seeking a second shot at a world title in a chapter of his career which is unfolding in the US.
But he saw Benn, aged 24, extend his unbeaten record to 17-0 against Sebastian Formella with a career-best performance that suggested he could yet reach similar heights to his father.
“He looked good, he looked strong, and I wish him luck,” Eubank Jr said.
There was hostility between the Benn and Eubank factions when the two sons featured on an Anthony Joshua undercard in 2016.
Eubank Jr won his 24th fight while Benn, then still so raw and unpolished, smashed through his third opponent but it was the pre-fight press conference where old wounds resurfaced.
Eubank Sr erupted: “I want to say something to Nigel, Mr Benn, about Conor.
“Conor may turn out to be a good fighter one day. We don’t know as yet.
“It’s not the boxing I’m concerned about. I’m concerned by ordinary life.
“His father should be there to watch.”
Nigel Benn was in Australia, where he still lives, but his inexperienced son shot back at Eubank Sr: “Who are you to talk about my personal life in front of these cameras? I find that extremely disrespectful.
“It’s none of your business. If you want to talk about my dad, talk about him. Don’t talk about me.
“You want to talk about my boxing? Fair enough. But don’t talk about my personal life.”
Eubank Sr was clearly alluding to the relationship he had with his own son when he said about the younger Benn: “His boxing life will be better protected if his father is involved in it.”
Conor Benn later insisted if his father was present: “I think there would have been fists flying all about the room.
“He’d have said: ‘I don’t like him; No 1. No 2; don’t talk about my son in a disrespectful manner’.”
Eubank Jr, all the while, sat silently and not looking at his father or Conor Benn.
The grudge between their fathers has shaped each of them but, four years on from that argument, is not being continued by the Eubank and Benn offspring.