Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Eubank is happy in shadow of his dad

His dad once swaggered to the King’s Hall ring with a bullet proof vest under his top. Now it’s the turn of Chris Eubank jnr to entertain the Belfast public.

The middleweight novice has naturally attracted great interest and expectation since turning professional with the comparisons being made between him and his father, a WBO World champion at middle and super-middleweight.

On Saturday night he intends to play his role to perfection when he boxes on the supporting bill to the Irish heavyweight title clash between Martin Rogan and Tyson Fury.

Throughout the 1990s flamboyant dad Chris captured the public’s imagination and often their anger — even hatred at times — as he waged war with the likes of Nigel Benn, Michael Watson, Steve Collins and Belfast’s Ray Close.

It was on the night of May 21 1994 that ‘Simply the Best’ rang out around the King’s Hall to herald the arrival of Eubank who then proceeded to outpoint Close (pictured) in their re-match of a fight 12 months earlier when the Belfast man was handed a controversial draw.

Eubank would eventually lose his belt to Dubliner Collins before further defeats to Joe Calzaghe and Carl Thompson at cruiserweight but he left his mark on the sport in a very big way and Chris jnr knows it all too well.

“It brings a pressure because of who my dad is but I have to say that having the name and the expectation around me and knowing that people are watching me gives me a great buzz,” says Eubank jnr.

“I get a real kick out of it and it just motivates me even more because people expect me to perform and it makes me fight harder... I use it to my advantage, it gives me that extra push.”

The 22-year-old hasn’t come to boxing through the stereotypical avenue of a tough background but rather living in a mansion due to the millions his father earned from the sport.

Nevertheless he had his own issues to deal with.

“As a young teen I was boisterous and I would have got into some trouble, things would happen that would lead to me losing my temper. I had to teach myself how to deal with them, I learned from my mistakes.

“I went to a private school, lived in a big house but as a teenager I had to deal with situations and issues that other kids had to as well. I got into fights, I was running with the wrong crowd and I had to get away.

“That's why I took up boxing, number one, and number two that's why I went to live in the States. I was going down a bad road, fighting on a regular basis so I went to the States and started with a clean slate.

“I learned how to diffuse situations, I learned not to be so head strong because if I was to get into a fight now I would lose my licence,” he adds.

Along the road to boxing he also enjoyed his first taste of the limelight when Channel Five screened their ‘At Home With The Eubanks’ reality show.

“The TV cameras were there when you woke up and everywhere for six or seven months. You just got used to it, being in front of the camera and maybe that’s why I am happy in front of the camera, in the spotlight.

“I like to entertain and some people say that the way I carry myself, the way I box reminds them of my dad.”

While his dad is naturally the one who is referred to when it comes to his career, the young man is also quick to pay tribute to his mum Karen, though when it comes to the ring he prefers her to take a back seat.

“My mum has had a very big influence on me but not on my boxing career. She has not got involved and she doesn't come to the fights, I don't let her.

“I wouldn't want her there while people are around her screaming for me to have my head ripped off and swearing.

“With my mum there I would just feel uncomfortable,” he says.

Boxing since he was 15, there is no doubt that he draws inspiration from the exploits of his father.

“My dad has spoken to me about those fights with Steve Collins and Ray Close, having been to Ireland a few times I know that there is a real hardcore boxing base there.

“I'm definitely looking forward to it... I will draw on their energy and give a good performance.

“I didn’t get to see my dad’s fights when I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to go but I have watched them all — my dad is an inspiration.

“When you see someone on the brink of defeat and then dig deep to come back to win it’s very impressive.”

Just like his dad he has Ronnie Davies in his corner and the no-nonsense coach has high hopes for young Eubank, just as he does of himself.

He adds: “I believe I can be a world champion. That’s my target but I’m far from the finished product.”

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