Chris Eubank Snr and Nigel Benn argued over the terms of their son’s fight in an explosive Zoom interview where the former insisted he will not allow Eubank Jr to risk his life in that fight.
Less than a month away from fight night, the legendary British fighters spoke to Metro.co.uk to mark the launch of the Trilogy Tour – a 15-date tour of the UK where the enemies-turned-friends share old war stories and delve into the rivalry that lit up the sport of boxing over 30 years ago.
Matters quickly turned to the upcoming bout at the O2 Arena, however, where their sons will follow in their footsteps. With a 157lbs catchweight agreed for the contest, Eubank Snr insisted he will not allow his son to enter the ring in such condition over fears for his son’s health, declaring: ‘No one can put my son’s life in danger. I have already lost one son.’
During the interview, Eubank Snr suggested he would have his own lawyers review the fight contract with Benn adamant Eubank Jnr must stand by his own choices.
Metro.co.uk can share the transcript from Monday’s 30-minute exchange.
Metro.co.uk: Will you be involved in training Chris for the fight?
Eubank Snr: Another word for a trainer is a teacher, another word for a teacher is a dad. Another word for dad is a father. Another word for a father is the one who loves most his own. And Junior is my fighter, never mind my son. And he is a magnificent fighter. Magnificent. I mean to have him prove that over his next three fights.
Metro.co.uk: Are you looking beyond this fight against Conor Benn?
Eubank Snr: That is an illusion. That is an illusion. That is what everyone else has been talking about. I don’t know what they are talking about. They don’t make the rules. If you use their rules, they will ensnare you. Like having you come in beneath your weight that keeps you safe. If you come in beneath that weight you put your life in danger and no one can put my son’s life in danger. I have already lost one son. It is not going to happen. Weight loss is something that no one understands unless you have done it. You don’t know it until you’ve felt it. That is why he does not fight beneath 160lbs. Enough said.
What these other people have been talking about, what the country is talking about, it is an illusion. He cannot go beneath 160lbs. If Nigel wants his son to fight my son, effectively, he has got to do that at 160, and that he is not doing. Because it is against the law. The law of who? The law of the dad, the teacher, the one who has been there, the one who has felt it, the one who knows the danger.
You have always heard me talking about the danger of boxing and how dangerous my son is. When he is on form. Which was shown against Nick Blackwell. Which was shown against Avni Yildirim. Those fights were over my watch. Not anybody else’s watch. And that is my son. Look at those performances and you will see the brilliance of a pure fighting spirit which is what Chris Livingstone Eubank Jnr is. My son.
Metro.co.uk: So you have major concerns over the catchweight?
Eubank Snr: I don’t have any concerns. Why would I have concerns? My son does not come beneath 160, period. Do not mention the subject to me again. And I say that with love. Full stop, my son does not come down beneath 160 because Nigel knows, because he knows, because he has felt it so he knows it and my son cannot be put in that danger. He will not be put in that danger.
Nigel Benn joins the conversation
Eubank Snr: Conor has a glittering career ahead of him. Glittering. But it is not worth my son. That boy, who is my boy, is a man who beats anyone, he is a great. And all you have to know to actually realise and understand that is look at his daddy. Look at his father. And Conor is his father. And I say this with the upmost respect. He has an objective mind, not subjective. He only wants to prove himself to be a great fighter, nothing else. He doesn’t dislike anyone, he doesn’t talk bad, as far as I understand, he doesn’t use bad language, he is articulate, he is a wonderful son to his father and I am a wonderful father to my son.
Benn: The same compliments you send to me about my son, I send to you, I have the same for him. I don’t have a bad word to say about Chris Jnr. I respect him as much as anyone.
Eubank Snr: That is what we are, we are daddies. And we are going to protect our sons. And the way we protect them is by steering them correctly through the path of this career that, people, and I’m talking about the entire world, if you don’t know boxing then you haven’t felt it and if you haven’t felt it, then you don’t know. Which is why my son cannot come down beneath 160. I have already lost one son – do not speak to me about my son going beneath 160.
Benn: Chris, you have to understand it is what he called out, he is the one that suggested it, not Conor. Conor didn’t say a word, your son said he could make 157lbs. It was nothing to do with Conor.
Eubank Snr: You are right. I have a letter from my son which tells me he is managing his own career. So you will see that letter. So he can manage his own career.
Benn: But he should have been with you, he should have sat down with you and listened to what you’ve said because you have already been there, we have experienced that.
Eubank Snr: I thank you because I know you knew. I know the fight with your son. And I know the fight that is right for you son. But you told me Nigel, you told me, on one of the occasions on the speaking tour, you told me, don’t speak of my son, let me speak of my son. I have to comply to you. So I will leave you to do what you do. But I am going to do what I have to do for my son.
Nigel, my king. I cannot lose another son. And you know what weight is. They don’t know what it is to go one pound beneath 160lbs if you are a middleweight. It is a life and death situation. No, don’t do that to my son, my brother, my king.
Benn: But this all came from your son’s mouth, he is a mature man, he is 32 years old, he made that decision. We did not make that decision…
Interview resumes after briefly loses connection
Eubank Snr: Nigel, your son is magnificent like the Titanic. But we cannot send him to sail not one journey, because my son cannot come down beneath 160. That is what I say. What my son says, he says in the blind, in the dark, he does not know about being 32 and coming down beneath 160, even once ounce. One ounce. no. It must not be. We mustn’t do this.
Benn: We can only go about what he said, no one made Chris. That is what came out of his mouth. He signed a contract, otherwise he is going to have to forfeit £300,000. That is what he said. So regardless, this is something that is out of my league because I do not get involved in my son’s personal business. Whatever that is, that’s his contract with Eddie [Hearn].
Eubank Snr: I do.
Benn: Then you need to speak to Eddie.
Eubank Snr: Hold on, I don’t have to speak to Eddie. When I speak, that is when the hammer drops. Nothing moves until that is the case, because I am his dad like you are Conor’s dad. Why would they, the people who handle the business of boxing, why would they pit two great fighters against each other? We are the United Kingdom! We represent the Queen. And the Queen mother.
Benn: You are going way off track.
You are English, I’m English, we both fought each other. I fought Michael Watson, you fought Michael Watson. We are all English. It has got nothing to do with that. I went over to America and I dealt with people in America, the people put in front of me. I had to do what I had to do. It is not about these two being English or whatever, it is through our legacy that this fight has come about. Being honest with you, they haven’t got a legacy like us yet but they are both heading that way.
Eubank Snr: The fact is they are heading that way, and this is what I would like you to consider, Nigel, my king. Wouldn’t it be better that with Conor Benn and Livingstone, my son, wouldn’t it be better to have them in this country taking on the rest of the world, taking on America? Taking on Africa? Because Africa is going to become the central place of boxing.
Benn: But we are not there yet. This came about without my knowledge and you know what I said to my son? Go for it. I said: “If you have to sidestep fighting one of the top Americans, then go for it because the fight is still always going to be there.” That is what I said.
Eubank Snr: Let me tell you who he is going to fight. He is going to fight the golden boy. The golden boy, I will let you know who the golden boy is at another time. But for now… let me say, my objective is to get my son to beat the best in the world at his weight.
He has three fights left in front of him. After the next three fights, he can retire or go on. I have told him, if he goes on, I can have nothing to do with his career. I am too busy with the projects and the business that I am involved in. His next three fights, it will be three opponents, I’m not going to mention them now.
This is what I am trying to get across to you, we should have Conor and Livingstone, we should have them beat the rest of the guys in the world and bring all the world championships at middleweight and welterweight back to the United Kingdom. That is the objective, that makes sense.
Benn: My objective is for my son to fight your son then go on to have an eliminator for a world title at welterweight and go on from there. That is our objective, your objective might be completely different from mine but I like where my son is going and I like the way Eddie Hearn is dealing with my son so far. I’m happy and content with how he is bringing my son forward. I’ve got no problem.
Eubank Snr: Well I am happy for you, that’s good. I have no complaints with that. What I am saying will stand, my son does not go beneath 160. He does not come in at 159lbs and 13oz.
Benn: But that’s not my problem. You have got to speak to your son, it is nothing to do with me. Absolutely nothing. All I can say to my son is you’ve done the training right, you’ve done the sparring, the dieting, the weights, the running. You’ve ticked every box. That is the only thing I have to think about my son. If you feel your son can’t make 157lbs, so be it. That is not my issue.
Eubank Snr: That’s not. But if the roles were reversed, if your son had to come down to 159lbs if he was 160lbs or if you think of Conor coming down to 145, you wouldn’t do it to him! You wouldn’t do it to him, Nigel.
Benn: I can’t. Listen, you get to a stage in life where you say, “You know what, my son makes his decisions.” Whatever he makes, he makes. I can’t tell my son to do anything. You know what it is? You have got to understand this is what came out of your son’s mouth, it didn’t come out of anyone else’s mouth.
So we can say Conor has to do this or Conor has to do that – he doesn’t have to do this because it wasn’t Conor who made the decision. It was your son who made the decision. So we can beat around the bush all we like but it’s what Junior said. Nobody forced him, this is what he said.
Did he have the time to sit down and think, “Was that right, was this the right decision?” No, he didn’t, and he went and signed the contract. So before he actually signed the contract he had time to sit down, process what he said and then sign the contract. But he didn’t, he just went and signed it straight away. So he can’t say nothing.
Eubank Snr: But I can. And I’m saying it now.
Benn: That is something where you know… he has to speak to Eddie. He has got his finger print on there, he has got his signature.
Eubank Snr: He hasn’t got to speak to Eddie. Eddie is going to have to speak to his king’s counsel. The king’s counsel will go through the contracts and break it down and make sure legally it can’t happen. And it cant. It is against the law.
Benn: How can it be against the law? No one forced a gun to his head. How can it be against the law, Chris? What we are doing is getting distracted from the fight because we are sticking on the point that your son signed [the contract]. Nobody forced him into anything, he was in the right frame of mind.
Eubank Snr: He did not have a manager – sorry, a lawyer – look at the contract. A lawyer is going to look at the contract.
Benn: It doesn’t need a lawyer to look at the contract to say, “I can make this weight.” You don’t need a lawyer. I’m not arguing. I’m just saying he [Eubank Jr] doesn’t need someone to say, you know what, you can make the weight. “Lawyer, can I make this weight?” He knows his body. The lawyer don’t know his body.
Eubank Snr: My king, he doesn’t know the weight. If he knew the weight, he would not be taking this fight because he cannot go below 160. You have not heard from me because I have been in Africa, South Africa, for three months, okay? And before that I was on a project. So I have been silent. But now I am speaking. Let’s say no more and we will see what happens.
Benn: 100 per cent, you deal with that.
Eubank Snr: But I will tell you this. I am elated and delighted with what was instigated and propelled by my son to actually accept this fight. Because it has made Conor a superstar and it has made himself a superstar in terms of media. But the fight can’t happen. But the fights that do happen and will happen will be very satisfying to the public, when they see the sense of the man who has been there, done it, has the t-shirt, has the injuries. I know what I’m talking about and it makes sense. So let’s say no more now about it.
Benn: I’m all for that. I don’t want a sticking point on something that’s irrelevant to me really.
Eubank Snr: Enough has been said, there is nothing more to say. I have made my point and Nigel has made his. But again, the law. The law is the father’s word. that is the law.
Benn: What do you mean by that? You’re not dealing with a teenager or an adolescent, you are dealing with a man of 32 years of age. Conor now is a father, he’s a husband, he makes his decisions. I can’t tell my son what to do.
Eubank Snr: Nigel, you can’t tell your son what to do, no? And I can’t tell Junior what to do. But what I will do is do what I see to be the correct way for him to manage his career.
Benn: But that is not the law, regardless of what your father says. He is a grown man.
Eubank Snr: There is no need to go in this conversation. My king, I love you beyond measure. You have no understanding of how much, you are my king. I can’t put it any other way. You are the fiercest, the most brazen of men that I have met in the ring. Brazen. And your son. I can’t find the words to express the power you brought into that ring and that is why you lit the world up.
Benn: So did you! We can both sit here and sing the others praises because I couldn’t have done any of this without you in the other corner. You know what, its so nice to be able to sit down and talk to you now.
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