'I asserted my dominance' — Chris Eubank Jr says he is already ahead against Conor Benn as promoter Kalle Sauerland hails 'amazing' story behind fight

'i asserted my dominance' — chris eubank jr says he is already ahead against conor benn as promoter kalle sauerland hails 'amazing' story behind fight

‘I asserted my dominance’ — Chris Eubank Jr says he is already ahead against Conor Benn as promoter Kalle Sauerland hails ‘amazing’ story behind fight

Within minutes of Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr talking about their fight as a reality for the first time, the murmurs beforehand that there might have been a lack of overt animosity between the boxers are extinguished.

Promoters Eddie Hearn and Kalle Sauerland are masters of hype, yet the pair take a back seat on the top table as the two innately confident characters willingly look back on legacies and family feuds almost 30 years after their legendary fighting fathers shared a draw in the second of their bouts.

Eubank Snr beat Nigel Benn three years earlier, in November 1990. His most high-profile son tells the crowd that he saw his father go to hospital and lose half of his tongue as a consequence of the epic double-header.

The younger Benn appears swiftly riled as Eubank repeatedly evokes the past and, in a stream of consciousness worthy of his mentor, predicts that he will mentally father Benn while he trains for the fight.

Eubank archly says that the 25-year-old wants to avenge his father’s loss and promises that he will toy with him on October 8 while being at 60 percent because of his required weight cut.

The fight is one that many fans find a surreal prospect, but not necessarily for the reasons those involved would like.

Benn is usually two weight divisions below Eubank and is significantly less experienced than his opponent, hence Eubank’s somewhat unsavoury claim that he would “execute” Benn if they fought at his usual super-middleweight standing, with a limit of 168lbs.

The naturally larger boxer says he has not been the required 157lb catchweight for this fight since he was a teenager, and Benn has never fought at the size.

When Hearn has a rare clear opportunity to intervene in the proceedings, he tells Eubank that his words make it sound like he expects to walk through Benn. Eubank agrees, variously saying that he will retire if he does not win and that he is right to underestimate the challenge in front of him.

Benn says his father told him he could win the fight after watching Eubank, and the unbeaten Londoner is a more potentially dangerous opponent than Eubank has met in many of his non-title fights.

Beyond the competitive element, there are sensible concerns over whether it is safe for Eubank to shed so much weight and Benn to bridge the gap.

Each fighter is reportedly set to be fined £83,000 ($100,000) per pound they register over 157lbs at the weigh-in before they headline London’s O2 Arena.

Eubank’s remarks will also fuel accusations from his ever-ready critics that, at 32, he is still tending to cherry-pick opponents.

“I asserted my dominance and won the war of the words,” Eubank serenely says afterwards, walking down a red carpet that hints at how much this scrap owes to status.

“I’ve been very open — there are no secrets here. I’ve said everything that I’ve said and meant every word I’ve said.

“There’s nothing behind the scenes that you guys could know that no-one else knows. He is going to make a lot of money but he is going to be liquidated. The money is a motivation for him but avenging his father’s loss is his main motivation.”

MORE: Eubank Jr vs Benn: Who won when Chris Eubank Sr. faced Nigel Benn?

The need for needle between Eubank and Benn is clear if the weight discrepancy does make this the mismatch some suspect it will prove.

Benn is immediately at pains to point out that the time is right for him to take this fight, implicitly denying that stepping up to world level while adding 10lbs is an unwise move at what is still a developmental stage of his career.

“Both are comfortable with what they’re doing,” Sauerland says afterwards, telling witty tales of the past eventful press conferences where he has been centre stage while calling the exchanges “mind games”.

“Eubank knew he had to come down and, of course, that will take something out of him. But Conor’s got to come up. It’s all fun and games.

“I know this is promoter talk but I challenge anyone to come to me with a story of two fathers who, more than 30 years ago, started this amazing chain of events — fights and the in-between stuff.

“I’m sure there are similar stories, but not at that level. A lot of people will say they’re not as good as their fathers, but here they are.”

Eubank’s dismissive bravado has been proven correct against all but the near-toughest opposition in Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves.

It will be justified unless Benn, who has scarcely put a foot wrong during his welterweight rise since 2016, can flourish despite the substantial step up in size and class.

MORE: Claressa Shields talks Savannah Marshall boxing rematch: ‘I got better. I improved. She didn’t.’

“I haven’t spoken to my old man about it,” says Eubank, promising to uphold his family name against the Benns on a day when the absence of both supportive fathers is conspicuous, ceding the spotlight instead to their sons.

“It’s crazy to think that, but it’s the truth. I don’t know why that is. I spoke to him for five minutes before the press conference but he didn’t say much.

“Hopefully I’ll speak to him after this and find out where his head’s at. I’ll call him back and we’ll figure it out.”

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