Before the biggest British fight of the year was “prohibited” by The British Boxing Board of Control, Men's Health sat down with Chris Eubank Jr for an intimate conversation. The boxer was as loquacious as ever, eager to discuss everything from what he does between training camps to the pitfalls young fighters face on social media. In particular, he had a lot to say about rival Conor Benn, the man with whom he was destined to share a ring – and to pick up the baton on a rivalry that is already three decades old.
At present, the boxers' Saturday night showdown is in question, due to Benn testing positive for clomifene, a fertility drug that is known to elevate testosterone levels.
Saturday night could – at this point, who knows? – still bring the latest instalment in a fight that, in Eubank Jr’s words, was “born and bred” more than 30 years ago. But as he acknowledged during our conversation, the sons are not their fathers, and they have more in common than their old men ever did.
“I know Conor Benn's struggle. I know the path that he's walked because I've been there and done it,” Eubank Jr told Men's Health. “Living in the shadow of a legend and trying to create your own name, create your own path, earn your own respect, regardless of the name that you have. It's an extremely hard and cruel path to walk, and he's walking that path like I did.”
Did Benn slip up on that path? Time will tell. But what can be in no doubt is the weight that carrying the name Eubank or Benn places on each man.
“I've been compared to my father from day one,” says Eubank Jr. “We have the same name, we're in the same sport, and I knew I had to do everything I could to make my own path. I had to win, and I had to win in style... I had to be my own man, and it took a long time.”
You can hear everything Eubank Jr had to say on boxing, mental health and, of course, Conor Benn in the video at the top of this page.
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