‘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. first discussing their fight as a reality, the preliminary murmurs that there may have been a lack of overt animosity between the boxers are erased.

Promoters Eddie Hearn and Kalle Sauerland are masters of hype, yet the couple takes a backseat at the top of the chart as the two naturally confident characters readily look back on legacies and family feuds, nearly 30 years after their legendary battling fathers died in second Times a draw shared their fights.

Eubank Snr beat Nigel Benn three years earlier, in November 1990. His best-known son told the crowd that he saw his father go to the hospital and lost half of his tongue as a result of the epic double-header.

The younger Benn seems quick to anger when Eubank repeatedly conjures up the past and, in a stream of consciousness worthy of his mentor, predicts that he will mentally father Benn while he trains for battle.

Eubank mischievously says the 25-year-old wants to avenge the loss of his father and promises he will play with him at 60 per cent on October 8 due to his required weight loss.

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

Benn is usually two weight classes under Eubank and is significantly less experienced than his opponent, hence Eubank’s somewhat unsavory claim that he would “execute” Benn if they fought in his usual 168-pound super middleweight position.

The naturally larger boxer says he hasn’t had the required catch weight of 157 pounds for this bout since he was young, and Benn has never fought at that size.

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Given the rare clear opportunity to intervene in the proceedings, Hearn tells Eubank his words sound like he’s expecting to go through Benn. Eubank agrees, saying on various occasions that he will step down if he doesn’t win and that he is right to underestimate the challenge that lies ahead.

Benn says his father told him he could win the fight after seeing Eubank and that the undefeated Londoner was a potentially more dangerous opponent than Eubank had faced in many of his non-title bouts.

Beyond the competitive element, there are reasonable concerns about whether it’s safe for Eubank to lose that much weight and Benn to bridge the gap.

Any fighter is reportedly to be fined £83,000 ($100,000) for every pound they register weighing over 157 pounds before leading London’s O2 Arena.

Eubank’s comments will also fuel accusations from his ready-made critics that, at 32, he still has a tendency to cherry-pick opponents.

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

“I was very open – there are no secrets here. I said everything I said and meant every word I said.

“Behind the scenes there is nothing you can know that nobody else knows. He will make a lot of money, but he will be liquidated. The money is a motivation for him, but revenge for the loss of his father is his main motivation.”

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The need for a pin between Eubank and Benn is clear if the weight discrepancy makes that a discrepancy that some suspects will prove.

Benn is quick to point out that the time is right for him to take up this fight, implicitly denying that rising to world level while adding 10 pounds is an unwise move at a developmental stage in his career.

“Both feel good about what they’re doing,” says Sauerland afterwards and tells wittily about the past eventful press conferences in which he was the center of attention, and called the stock exchanges “mind games”.

“Eubank knew he had to come down and obviously that will take something away from him. But Conor has to come up. It’s all fun and games.

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

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

Eubank’s dismissive boast has proved correct against all but the stiffest odds in Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves.

It will be justified unless Benn, who has barely made a mistake during his welterweight rise since 2016, can thrive despite the significant increase in size and class.

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

“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 after that I’ll talk to him and find out where his head is. I’ll call him back and we’ll find out.”

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