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Fireworks fly in Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn press conference

The catchweight fight of 156 lbs is still two months away, but the sparks are already flying in the first presser between these to natural Born Rivals

The catchweight fight of 156 lbs is still two months away, but the sparks are already flying in the first presser between these to natural Born Rivals
Steven Paston - PA ImagesGetty

Few fights can have a bigger buildup, more expectation, and grittier history than the upcoming October 4 clash between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn. Their boxing worlds should not intersect. Benn is a welterweight, Eubank is a middleweight. The two have an eight year age difference. But what has brought them together far outweighs the details that should keep them apart.

“He has walked the same path as I have,” is the succinct message that Chris Eubank Jr has to explain their inevitable crossing of gloves. “I know his struggle. Living in the shadow of a legend and trying to break out of that shadow and make his own name. If he can beat me, his name will be made, and he will never walk in his father’s shadow again.”

The fathers of the two fighters put on two of the biggest spectacles in the history of pugilism, with Chris Eubank Sr and Nigel Benn going to war twice, and denying the public’s appetite for a third. The two sons were destined for this meeting from the first day they laced up gloves.

It’s a fight that’s going to spark the imagination of the British public, that’s what I’m happy about,” continues Eubank Jr. “In terms of anticipation, legacy and hype it’s the biggest fight of my career.”

Conor Benn agrees with that assessment, saying, “This fight is for the legacy and was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up.”

Not wanting to fall into the family vendetta mindset, but unwilling to allow the rivalry to pass out of hand, Benn goes on, “This fight is embedded with so much history and I know it’s one the public really want to see. To me this fight is personal. It’s more than titles and rankings, this is unfinished business between our families!

When the two faced each other in the first press conference for this fight, the dislike that their fathers famously had for one another was plainly passed to the sons, and was on display for all to see.

With Benn coming up two weight divisions for this fight, Eubank is dropping a similar amount and insisted in the London press conference, “I’ll be 60% on the night and that’ll be enough to do whatever I want with you.”

Asked if he hated Benn, Eubank Jr replied, “I don’t hate anybody. I would ever give anyone that type of power over me. I don’t even dislike Conor,” adding quickly, “But at the same time this fight is personal. The things his father put my father through, I can’t forget and I can’t forgive.”

While Benn appeared more relaxed about the theme, he did say about Eubank, “He is a carbon copy of his dad and I am as well. It is for legacy. I believe my dad won the rematch and they never had the trilogy. I’ve got to set the score straight.”

Chris Eubank has a cracking pedigree, at 32-2 and with his two losses being to Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves. Along the way he has racked up impressive victories against some tough opponents such as Arthur Abraham and James DeGale.

Conor Benn has a pretty sterling record himself, at 21-0 he has yet to taste defeat, working his way through stiff competition like Chris Algieri and Sebastian Formella.

“Born Rivals is the perfect calling for this fight,” says Benn, “because we have always been associated and I’ve always been asked if we’d ever fight, and now I can’t wait for the world to be able to watch us make that happen.”

Chris Eubank Jr is adamant that he will walk through Benn, saying, “If I lose to Conor Benn on October 8, I’m finished, finished. My goal is to fight for a world title within the next year. I can’t lose to Conor Benn and then say, eh, let me fight for a middleweight world title. It just can’t happen.”

Benn is not bowed by the bravado, adding, “All I know is that from my side, this will be an all-out war, last man standing kind of fight. Neither will give up until the last bell rings. I won’t be looking to take this to the score cards though, this will be explosive from the off. I’m so up for this.”


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