Chris Eubank Jr’s upbringing was never exactly going to be run-of-the-mill.
Just two months after celebrating his son’s first birthday in 1990, Chris Eubank Sr knocked out Nigel Benn in a grudge match which, 30 years on, remains the most talked about in British boxing history.
Chris Eubank Jr is mentored by his father, Chris Eubank Sr
Eubank Sr was already a rising star, but the rivalry with Benn thrust him into the stratosphere as a national celebrity.
Victory made him an icon.
From that moment forward, life changed not only for the WBO middleweight champion himself, but also for his family around him.
“I always knew my dad was different from the average,” Eubank Jr tells talkSPORT.com about his childhood. “But I didn’t really know what he did.
“He kept me away from boxing for a long time.
“I only really found out when I was around 13, what it was that he did.”
The enmity between Sr and Benn was historic
During his professional career, Eubank Sr often questioned the nature of boxing.
He lambasted the way in which he believed fighters were used and abused by promoters, branding the sport a ‘mug’s game’.
When he became a father, Sr was keen to shield his children from the dirty business he was involved in.
But upon discovering the sport, Jr was hooked.
Eubank Jr is 29-2 (22 KOs)
He remembers: “I was intrigued. I wanted to see if I could do what he was doing.
“But he wouldn’t let me, he forbid me from training, from boxing, he didn’t think I’d be tough enough.
“So I had to just continue with what I was doing in school with the rugby, athletics, football and everything else.
“Until I got to an age when he just couldn’t really deny me anymore.”
The Eubank family had their own TV show
In usual circumstances, this honest conversation between father and son would have taken place behind closed doors.
However, in 2003, Eubank Sr invited TV cameras into his house as he signed up for a Channel Five reality show ‘At Home With The Eubanks’.
As a result, the footage of Eubank Jr, aged just 14, badgering his father to let him box is available for all to see on YouTube even now.
In an episode where Lennox Lewis visited the house following his final fight, he prompted the start of the young Eubank Jr’s career.
Jr pestered Sr to let him try boxing
Eubank Sr confided in Lennox: “I often tell Christopher [Jr] that boxing is a business that you never see middle class or upper class youngsters become champions.
“Because you need hunger, you need to be hungry.
“And the fact that you’ve been brought up within these four walls here and you’ve been protected, I don’t think you’re gonna be hard enough.”
The 14-year-old Eubank Jr replied: “I just wanna try it, I just wanna see what it’s about. If my dad can do it, why can’t I do it?”
Lewis convinced Eubank Sr to let his son try the sport
Lewis argued in favour of the teenager, and told his father: “Let me just bring this point to you, I would never want, when I have kids, for my son or daughter to be in a car crash.
“So what do I do? I say, ‘I’m not buying you a car and you can’t drive.’ Is that the right thing to do?”
The moment Eubank Sr changes his mind is visible on camera as he stands up, shakes the heavyweight champion’s hand and embraces him.
Later in the episode, Sr took Jr for his first training session
A now 30-year-old Eubank Jr recalls: “I was 14 years old and I was on him all the time, ‘You’ve gotta let me fight, you’ve gotta let me try it.’
“He finally gave in, actually through the help of Lennox Lewis.
“Lennox Lewis kind of sat down and talked with him about this and just said: ‘You’ve gotta let your boy follow his dream. You’ve gotta let him find his own path.’
“From that day on, I was introduced into the boxing world, I quit all the other sports I was playing at school, focused on the boxing and now, here we are, 16 years later.
Years later, Sr is still by Jr’s side
“It makes you laugh [to look back on]. Imagine if he’d continued on the same note.
“It would’ve been a different path because I wouldn’t have been able to fall in love with the sport.
“What a shame that would’ve been.”
It’s no secret that Lewis did a lot for British boxing as undisputed heavyweight champion, but few realise how every win Eubank Jr records adds a small extra piece to his legacy.