Chris Eubank and John Fury will be keeping tabs on Chris Jr and Tyson next Saturday at the O2


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The Independent Online

The ever-eccentric Chris Eubank is not the only dad keeping tabs on his lad at London’s O2 next Saturday night.

Tyson Fury’s father John, a one-time British heavyweight title contender and ex-bare knuckle scrapper, has been released from jail and is helping his unbeaten son prepare for a bill-topping bout with German Christian Hammer, which promoter Frank Warren says will be the prelude to a definite world title shot this summer.

But while Eubank Snr inevitably will be pouting and posing between rounds as fight-alike middleweight offspring Chris Jnr attempts to become a world-champion-in-waiting by overcoming Russian Dmitry Chudinov, the interim champion, Fury’s pater is likely to be somewhat less impassive.

The man known as Gypsy John in his own fistic heyday is currently out on licence after serving four years of an 11-year sentence for GBH in a pub brawl. Fury Snr, 50, steered his son during the early stages of his career, but since his conviction the giant heavyweight has been trained by John’s brother, Peter. “Its good to have my dad back,” says Fury. “It gives me a lot of motivation.”

If further encouragement was needed, Warren was in New York last week holding talks with the representatives of current rival heavyweight kings Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder. He says both champs are keen to fight Fury: “Tyson will certainly meet one or other this summer.”

He promises “a major announcement” should Fury, the mandatory challenger to Klitschko, emerge unscathed from his WBO International belt defence, which will be live on BoxNation.

As usual Fury is not short of delusional self-belief, telling us that he thinks “Klitschko will bottle it and vacate the title rather than fight me. So maybe Wilder has the bollocks to take me on, though first time I land one on him it will be goodnight Vienna”.

Saturday night also sees another of boxing’s father-figures, Barry McGuigan, promote boxing’s return to ITV with his own protégé Carl “The Jackal” Frampton’s IBF world super-bantamweight defence against American Chris Avalos in Belfast.

Likewise it is also a family affair with McGuigan’s trainer son Shane in Frampton’s corner. The fight will be shown on ITV1 from 10pm.

Judo’s spiritual battle

The British Judo Association have got their black belts in a twist with the embarrassing cancellation of the European Championships scheduled for Glasgow in April.

The European Judo Union’s Russian president Sergey Soloveychik has pulled the mat from under them because of the BJA’s controversial £250,000 sponsorship from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), suggesting association with cage fighting does not fit the image.

The International Judo Federation had earlier warned of “a spiritual contamination of the sport”. It is an embarrassment for BJA chair Kerrith Brown, who had hopes of getting cage fighting into the Olympics. The European Championships will now form part of the inaugural multi-sport European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, in June.

Questions of sport

Never mind that forthcoming seven-up TV political debate. The pre-election talk show of interest takes place in Westminster tomorrow night, when members of the Sports Journalists Association quiz the parliamentary trio of sports minister Helen Grant (left), her Labour shadow Clive Efford and Lib Dem spokesman John Leech (no, we didn’t  know they had  one, either).

a.hubbard @independent