Boxing; Eubank announces retirement as pressure builds up

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The Independent Online
Boxing

JAMES REED

Chris Eubank yesterday announced his retirement from boxing, a decision that is not a surprise, though it remains to be seen if he will quit for good.

Eubank, 29, has fought 47 times and suffered his first defeat in March of this year when he lost his World Organisation super-middleweight title to Steve Collins and last month he lost for the second time when Collins once again beat him. On both occasions Eubank was devastated by the defeat.

"There is life outside the ring and I feel the pressure is now off me. I've been boxing since I was 16 and it's a hard life. I won't be coming back," Eubank promised yesterday. He denied that the death of the Scottish bantamweight, James Murray, influenced his decision.

Eubank will now concentrate on a sports and fashion business he has set up with an associate, Rory McCarthy, called "Show Offs". It is an appropriate name for the Brighton boxer who has spoken of quitting the ring since he first won the WBO middleweight title from Nigel Benn in November 1990.

Since his defeat and what could be his final fight last month against Collins, Eubank has eked out an ascetic existence in Hove. Even at the opening of his new wine bar, Hyde's, the enigmatic boxer was amazingly quiet and left before the opening night party was in full swing.

During the last few weeks there has been speculation about his intentions. His trainer Ronnie Davies had suggested that Eubank would move up to light- heavyweight. It is still an option. "We've had some marvellous times and I'm obviously sad but if he wants to retire and stay retired I will back his decision all the way," said Davies, who often despaired at his fighter's antics.

Eubank's first five fights were in Atlantic City but in 1988 he returned to England and shortly after joined Barry Hearn. They remained together until August of this year when Eubank left, and his last fight against Collins was for Frank Warren.

"It was always going to be the end of an era, it had to come and Eubank's always made it quite clear that he's a businessman who boxes," said Hearn.

"Eubank's called boxing a mug's game for years and perhaps from a timing point of view with the tragedy of James Murray it is an understandable decision," added Hearn, who claimed Eubank is also the highest paid British fighter of all time.

Before Eubank met Collins, there was speculation about multi-million pound fights against his former rival, Nigel Benn, and the current sensation of American boxing, Roy Jones, but since losing to Collins both those lucrative avenues dried up.

"Eubank is no good to me because he has now lost twice," said Jones recently. Benn has never been keen to meet Eubank for a third time, even though he lost the first encounter and drew their second fight when they met in front of 42,000 people at Old Trafford in October 1993.

"It is a dirty business and boxers should be in control of their own destiny," said Eubank at last year's inaugural Professional Boxers Association dinner.

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