Steve Bunce on Boxing: Chris Eubank Jnr brings back some of the theatrics – and skills – that made his father famous
Tuesday 10 June 2014
Chris Eubank returned to a British boxing ring on Saturday wearing specially adapted jodhpurs, knee-high riding boots, a hunting jacket with the sleeves removed and a tie. There was also a concealed monocle in there somewhere.
His outfit broke several British Boxing Board of Control rules, including a stringent regulation that requires all licence holders to clearly display an identification laminate, when he climbed through the ropes to act as chief second to his son – also Chris – during a show in Newcastle. The double act reached new heights at the end of round one when Eubank Snr stood in the middle of the ring staring at Eubank Jnr for the full 60 seconds; the pair never said a single word and their expressions never changed as mime arrived on the boxing scene.
“There should be silence during an exam,” Eubank Snr said after the fight. “It is always an exam in there and that is why there was silence.” He is such a drama queen and I miss him because he has the humour that our modern fighters lack.
Eubank Jnr, 24, won for the 16th time, dropping Stephan Horvath a total of five times, to prove once again that he is more than just a showman’s son. However, it is the presence of the senior Eubank, a man who in many ways shaped British boxing’s finest decade when he dominated our screens in the Nineties, that has people in the boxing business gossiping; the talk has been all about the man with the monocle and that has taken a lot of pressure off the boy, his son.
In recent months the father has made outrageous claims on his son’s behalf and with each bold prediction the idle chatter increases. The son, it has to be said, is also quite handy at dropping in the odd intentional insult and was recently asked to comment on a proposed fight with the unbeaten British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. The son turned to his father, who was gazing in whimsy at something in the cheap seats, and said: “Who is he? I have never heard of him. Why would I know of him?” It was vintage Eubank, something straight from the days before the first Nigel Benn and Eubank fight in the winter of 1990.
“You talk of Benn. I know not of this man, I know just of a boxer I meet in the boxing ring,” Eubank told me a few days before their first fight. “I have no need to know his name, his origins or his thoughts. He is just an opponent.” Lovely stuff and it worked, because Benn was mentally ruined before the first bell and was rescued on his feet in round nine.
When the father fought he truly did have to fight all of his own battles, pulling off solo stunts and baiting audiences in tiny Essex halls long before the giant nights of glory in front of 42,000 at the Theatre of Dreams. It was an exhausting journey and one that the son will find far less arduous because of the presence, even if illegally attired, of his father, who we should never forget was one of Britain’s finest boxers. It was certainly fun in the Nineties and it is just about to get interesting with the second instalment.
Cash or gold for Taylor?
It was a father-and-daughter double act at the European women’s boxing championships in Romania at the weekend when Katie Taylor, the Olympic champion, won her sixth consecutive European title. However, the professionals want her, so Taylor and her father/coach, Peter, have to balance the lure of the dollar against the price of gold in Rio in two years time. There has been talk of six-figure offers from a group in Boston.
Also in Bucharest, Stacey Copeland from Stockport won a silver medal for England in the 69-kilo class, which disgracefully is not one of the weights recognised as part of the Olympic or Commonwealth Games programme. Copeland will not be in Glasgow and will only have a chance to reach Rio if she gains or loses 10 kilos – both options are mad.
By the way, in 1979 Stacey’s father, Eddie, was the British ABA champion at light-welterweight.
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