Chris Eubank Jr. vs Conor Benn: Boxing history to be made in epic British encounter


When it comes to box-office British boxing, it doesn’t get much bigger than Benn vs Eubank. That was true 30 years ago and it’s still true today. On October 8, 2022, Conor Benn, 25, of London, England will face off against Chris Eubank Jr., 32, of East Sussex, England in a fight three decades in the making. Their respective fathers Nigel Benn, 58, and Chris Eubank Sr., 56, were the stars of British boxing in the early 1990s with a rivalry that stretched beyond the ring and stemmed from genuine dislike.

Chris Sr. and Nigel were at the peak of a middleweight category that boasted some of the best fighters the planet’s ever seen directly before and after them. American boxers Sugar Ray Leonard, 66, Thomas Hearns, 63, and the late Marvin Hagler fought epic battles for supremacy in the 1980s. We saw their fellow American boxers Bernard Hopkins, 57, James Toney, 53, and Roy Jones Jr., 53, dominate the super middleweight division later in the 1990s. But for a brief period, Nigel and Chris Sr. were the brightest lights at 160 pounds.


The fight

Chris Jr. has followed in his father’s footsteps, fighting in the middleweight and super-middleweight divisions. Conor is lighter than his father although no less of a knockout merchant with 14 knockouts in 21-0-0 career to date and fights in the 147lbs welterweight class.

The bout between Chris Jr. and Conor will be at a catchweight of 157lbs, a weight the former says he hasn’t hit since he was 18 years old. With a record of 32-2-0, the former International Boxing Organization middleweight champion has only tasted defeat at the hands of former world champions George Groves and Billy Joe Saunders. The oddsmakers fancy the bigger and more experienced man with Ladbrokes pricing Chris Jr. as the heavy favorite. A catchweight contest with no belts on the line wouldn’t always be considered a big draw but the 02 Arena sold out in 47 minutes as fans rushed to see the latest installment in a rivalry that’s literally spanned the generations.


The history

Chris Sr. and Nigel fought twice. They battled it out in a 1989 clash at middleweight that resulted in a technical knockout victory for the former in the ninth round and a 1993 bout at super-middleweight that resulted in a contentious split-decision draw.

The so-called “Judgement Day” was reportedly watched by over 500 million fight fans worldwide. Chris Sr. later admitted to ITV that he felt Nigel had won the second contest and the two former rivals have become friends in retirement.

Chris Eubank Sr., Chris Eubank Jr.
Chris Eubank Sr., Chris Eubank Jr.

The future

Despite being badly outmatched, Amir Khan, 35, of Bolton, England was praised for his bravery when he stepped up two weights to get his clock cleaned by Canelo Alvarez, 32, of Jalisco, Mexico.

Chris Jr. will be 33 when he steps into the ring against Conor, who is 7 years younger and whose career is still markedly on the up. The older boxer feels he has more to lose from the fight and he could be right.

On April 10, 2021, Conor blew out Samuel Vargas, 33, of Bogota, Colombia in the first round. Conor’s last fight was an impressive second round TKO over former IBO champ Chris Van Heerden, 35, of Johannesburg, South Africa. Conor is ranked as the eighth best active welterweight by ESPN and a big showing on a big night may get him closer to contests with top American boxers Terence Crawford, 34, Errol Spence Jr., 32, and Jaron Ennis, 25, who are all undefeated like Conor.

There’s no love lost between the younger generations of these famous fight families. For his part, Conor called Chris Jr. “delusional” at their first press conference in August 2022. If their weights mean they might not make a rivalry for the ages like their fathers did, a worldwide audience will be focused on London for the biggest British bout and perhaps the greatest global grudge match of 2022.

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