A latte with four sugars. Chris Eubank Jr has arrived on time, relaxed, in a ‘Next Gen’ tracksuit (his own, new clothing line) and casually orders a latte with four sugars. Who drinks a latter with four sugars? Presumably not a man who is excessively troubled about the prospect of fighting WBA super-middleweight champion George Groves on Saturday, or indeed particularly worried about making weight on Friday afternoon.
Eubank sits alone. So often at his side, praising him, cajoling him, proselytising for him is his father Chris Eubank. But today Senior is absent. As it happens it’s due to a cold that the father is keeping away from the son, but the optics underscore the point Junior is making. “This isn’t about my old man. It’s about me,” Eubank Jr maintains. “These are the fights which make me my own entity.”
This could be his own historic fight, to match, maybe, his father’s legendary exploits against the likes of Nigel Benn in his heyday. “It’s on that level. It has the potential to be for sure,” Junior explains. “They separate me from anybody else, not just my father, which is what I’ve been striving for my entire career. For people to see me as Chris Eubank. Not Chris Eubank’s son.”
It’s helped him advance, being the son of the famous father. “I accept it. It doesn’t matter if I become the greatest fighter whoever lived. I will always be compared. We have the same name, we’re in the same sport,” he concedes. “I don’t have a problem with that, he was an amazing fighter. It’s no bad thing to be compared to somebody that was as great as he was.”
But now Junior is determined to be known in his own right. Victory over Groves would undoubtedly give him that. That is what Eubank Jr has always wanted. “Any fighter that’s serious about boxing wants to be in those massive fights, fighting the best fighters with the whole country watching and talking. That’s every fighter’s dream or it should be. I was no different,” he said.
Groves has perceived a longing for fame in Eubank Jr and criticised him for it. “George has said I’m ‘Insta-famous,’ that’s one of his things. That’s not a bad thing,” Eubank responded. “That means that I have people that aren’t boxing fans necessarily that are interested in what I’m doing, interested in me. I’m bringing non-boxing fans into the sport, which is good. It means I’m doing my job, it means I’m on the right track. Am I fighting for fame? No. If you’re fighting for any other reason other than you love the sport and you want to be the best, then you’re not going to make it. I’m being told that George is saying that he’s fighting because he doesn’t have enough money yet to be set up for life. It’s a dangerous mentality. I’m fighting because I want to be the best. I want to beat the best. I want to make a name for myself. I’m not fighting because I’m worried about not being able to live comfortably for the rest of my life.”
“I’m a people person, I’m a people’s champion. I let people see my journey. I document my training every day. On Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram people can see what I’m going through to get to the level I’m at. Whereas George is the type of fighter, everything’s behind closed doors. He doesn’t really want anybody to know what he’s doing. So he’ll never be able to reach the people like I can. Is he jealous of that? Maybe, I don’t know,” he adds.
“I’m not putting my health and risking my livelihood for nothing. There has to be some type of reward, some type of security. That was important. It’s important that that is there. But is that my main motivation? Absolutely not. Legacy is my motivation. Inspiring the next generation is my motivation. Being the fighter that people that don’t know much about boxing, being the fighter that can bring those people into the sport, that’s my motivation.”
Eubank concludes, “I want to create a legacy and with that I have to fight the best over long periods of time and I believe this fight is the beginning of that stage of my career where I have these mega-fights against the best people in the division at the time. I will fight for as long as I can. It’s not about money… I just want to fight the best.”