This weekend, one of the biggest boxing fights of the year will take place in the UK, as two of the most familiar names in British boxing will collide.
Benn v Eubank is a fight that will have many older boxing fans somewhat nostalgic for what was a golden era for British middleweights and super-middleweights.
However, on Saturday it will be the son’s of those two great rivals that will meet for the first time in a catchweight contest.
Conor Benn, usually a welterweight, will move up in weight to take on Chris Eubank Jr, usually a middleweight, who will have to drop 3lbs for this bout in a fight that will certainly attract plenty of boxing punters into a bet this weekend.
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The reason this somewhat unusual fight has captured the imagination of the British boxing public can only be found by examining the career paths of their two legendary fathers, starting with Ilford’s most iconic boxer of all-time.
Nigel “The Dark Destroyer” Benn Explodes Onto The Boxing Scene
Throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s, there were two boxers that were viewed by many as having the most fierce rivalry in the sport.
In one corner stood Nigel Benn, a native of East London who was famous for his down to earth, fearless, power-punching style and who was skilled enough to land World titles at both middleweight and super-middleweight.
Benn’s explosive style led him to an unbeaten record, laced with a high percentage of knockouts, until he faced Michael Watson for the Commonwealth title, where he lost in a surprise defeat to his fellow Londoner.
However, Benn recovered from that loss and in his 27th fight claimed the WBO Middleweight World Title, when defeating Doug DeWitt at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City.
He then destroyed Iran Barklay in the first round in his first defence of the title, knocking the American challenger down three times in the first round, meaning the referee had to stop the fight on the three knockdown rule.
Next up on the horizon for Benn would be another British fighter who was making waves at both national and international level.
Chris Eubank Emerges As Benn’s Nemesis
Facing Benn in the opposite corner for his second defence of the WBO title was a somewhat eccentric character in the shape of London-born but Brighton-based boxer Chris Eubank.
Eubank was a fighter who never really appeared to love the sport, and who viewed his success as a means to end to provide for his family,
Despite his indifferent attitude to his chosen career, Eubank was one of the most technically gifted fighters of his generation, and a polarising character given his arrogant persona he developed in the ring.
By the time Benn was to face Eubank for the first time, Eubank had amassed a 25-0 record, had won the WBC International middleweight title and in his previous fight had knocked out Brazilian Reginaldo Dos Santos in the first round after just 20 seconds.
A date was set for the 18th November 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham where Benn’s WBO Middleweight World Title would be on the line.
By this point, both fighters had become bitter rivals and that rivalry would explode when they met in the ring.
Benn V Eubank I
The first fight between these two giants was a genuine war of attrition that saw both fighters go to the well over the nine rounds that the fight lasted.
During the bout, both fighters appeared to be in danger of being knocked out, but would come back and after 9 rounds, Eubank caught Benn, who was narrowly ahead on points at that time, and landed several punches which forced the referee to step in and stop the contest.
Eubank defended his middleweight title three times before moving up to Super-middleweight where he won the vacant WBO title in his first bout against Michael Watson, in a bout that left Watson in a wheelchair following a blood clot on the brain.
Over the next couple of years, Eubank defended his title seven times before he would once again face Nigel Benn, this time for the WBC Super-Middleweight Title as well as Eubank’s WBO Super-Middleweight title.
Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank I
18/11/90 National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
EUBANK WON BY TKO RD 9/12
Here is how the fight ended! pic.twitter.com/N8kGx8bfcr
— Boxing Inclusive ? (@BoxingInclusive) October 2, 2022
Benn v Eubank II
Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank II
9/10/93 Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester
Some footage from the final round. What a round! Did you have BENN winning? pic.twitter.com/5JpeIalQLx
— Boxing Inclusive ? (@BoxingInclusive) October 2, 2022
The second bout between the two was perhaps not as brutal as the first, but it was just as mesmerising a contest. The two battled back and forth across the 12 rounds of action and by the end of the fight, the judges could not separate them.
One judge had Eubank win by two rounds, the other Benn by a round and the third a draw, meaning that the bout finished in a draw.
Eubank went on to be undefeated in his first 43 fights before losing his title to Steve Collins in 1995, and he followed that up with another loss to Collins a few months later.
Eubank finished his career with three defeats, one against Joe Calzaghe and two against Carl Thompson at junior heavyweight.
Benn suffered his own tragedy in 1995 when he beat Gerald McLellan by KO in the 10th, a round which saw McLellan suffer a brain injury and that also left him paralysed.
Benn also finished his career with three defeats, one to Thulani Malinga and two to Steve Collins.
The Next Generation
‘Losing to Conor Benn at this stage of my career means I’m not the fighter that I think I am’
Chris Eubank on why he’ll retire if Benn defeats him next week when they meet in the squared circle.
Can’t lie, I’ve never been so overly invested in a fight. pic.twitter.com/X763Vxh8BQ
— Michael Morgan (@mikewhoatv) September 30, 2022
For a while, it appeared as if Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr. would not face each other as while their fathers were at the same weight, Eubank Jr. was a naturally bigger fighter, boxing at middleweight or even super-middleweight while Conor Benn was naturally a welterweight.
However, as both fighters progressed in their career, clamour for a fight between the two grew and in the end a catchweight contest was agreed, with Benn moving up almost two weight divisions and Eubank needing to lose 3lb, in order to meet the 150lb weight limit.
Conor Benn Boxing Record
Height – 5ft 8”Reach – 68”Stance – OrthodoxTotal Fights – 21Total Wins – 21Wins by KO – 14
All Benn’s fights in his career so far have been at Welterweight, and his fight against Chris Eubank Jr will be his first at middleweight.
Chris Eubank Jr. Boxing Record
Height – 5ft 11”Reach – 73”Stance – OrthodoxTotal Fights – 34Total Wins – 32Total Losses – 2Wins by KO – 23
Eubank has fought at middleweight and super-middleweight throughout his career and his two defeats have come against Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves.
Latest Betting At Bet365
Bet365 has Chris Eubank Jr. as the 4/9 favourite to win the bout, with Conor Benn the 7/4 outsider. That is likely based on Eubank Jr. being the naturally bigger man and Benn having to gain a considerable amount of weight in order to step up through the divisions.
How do we see the fight going? Well Conor Benn is a huge puncher and that is something Eubank Jr doesn’t really have, but will his naturally bigger frame be too much for Benn to contend with?
With their fathers in their corner for this fight, and given the history that precedes it, this should be one for the ages and I am expecting an explosive night of action.
I don’t think it is possible this one goes the distance and as such I am backing Conor Benn to land the upset win here by landing a win in Round 2 – which is a 66/1 shot with bet365.
Tune in from 10pm on Saturday night to watch the latest instalment of Benn v Eubank!