In a showdown that rekindles memories of their famous fathers engaging in two thrilling world title fights that captivated the British public in the early 1990s, Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn will meet in a 12-round catch weight fight on Oct. 8 at The O2 in London, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Tuesday.
What was not announced was the precise weight limit for the bout because Hearn wants to save that significant detail for an upcoming news conference. Benn is welterweight and Eubank is a middleweight, who has also campaigned as a super middleweight.
However, a source with direct knowledge of the details told Fight Freaks Unite that the maximum contract weight would be somewhere between 155 and 159 pounds, making it technically a middleweight bout. The source did not want to divulge the exact weight.
The fight, dubbed “Born Rivals,” will stream on DAZN around the world but it will be a DAZN PPV event in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“I can’t quite believe this is happening but let me tell you, it’s happening,” Hearn said. “Weeks of negotiations have led to one of the biggest moments in British boxing. These two ‘Born Rivals’ will do battle in an epic match up that has absolutely everything. Ever since they both turned professional people talked about this moment and now is the time to see the historic rivalry continue.”
Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank Sr., both former middleweight and super middleweight titleholders, fought twice in huge events that aired on British free television. Eubank knocked Benn out in the ninth round of a WBO middleweight title fight in 1990 and they fought to a disputed split draw before some 47,000 in a WBC/WBO super middleweight unification fight in 1993.
“It’s a fight that’s going to spark the imagination of the British public,” — Chris Eubank Jr.
“This fight is for the legacy and was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up,” — Conor Benn
Now their sons will do battle.
“I grew up watching their legendary battles and always wanting to emulate that, and find my own arch nemesis,” said Eubank Jr. “Could this now be Conor Benn? We will find out.
“He has walked the same path as I have. I know his struggle. Living in the shadow of a legend and trying to break out of that shadow and make his own name. If he can beat me, his name will be made, and he will never walk in his father’s shadow again. It’s a fight that’s going to spark the imagination of the British public. That’s what I’m happy about. In terms of anticipation, legacy and hype it’s the biggest fight of my career.”
Eubank (32-2, 23 KOs), 32, who is trained by Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr., has been in other notable fights, having held an interim middleweight belt and challenged for a super middleweight world title in a decision loss to countryman George Groves in 2018. Eubank has beaten former titleholders Arthur Abraham and James DeGale, contender Matt Korobov and most recently outpointed Liam Williams in February. His only other loss was a split decision to Billy Joe Saunders for the European, British and Commonwealth middleweight titles in 2014. Since the loss to Groves, Eubank has won six fights in a row
“I fell in love with boxing as a teenager growing up in London, watching the original Eubank versus Benn saga, and it gives me a huge sense of pride to now be promoting Eubank versus Benn decades later,” said Kalle Sauerland of Wasserman Boxing, Eubank’s promoter. “This fight is guaranteed to be astronomical in its own right. Their surnames create a grudge match, but their skill sets make an elite-level contest between two stars molding their own legacies.”
Benn (21-0, 14 KOs), 25, is the fighter on the rise and a growing attraction in the U.K. who has stepped up his competition over the past two years with eye-catching knockouts of Samuel Vargas, former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri and Chris van Heerden and a one-sided decision over Adrian Granados.
But Benn is taking a tremendous gamble against the much bigger and more experienced Eubank. But he felt it was worth the risk.
“This fight is for the legacy and was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up,” said Benn. “My team and I had other options on the table as I’m currently ranked top five with all governing bodies at welterweight and no doubt I’m looking for a world championship fight very soon, but this fight is embedded with so much history and I know it’s one the public really want to see. To me this fight is personal. It’s more than titles and rankings. This is unfinished business between our families.
“Born Rivals is the perfect calling for this fight because we have always been associated and I’ve always been asked if we’d ever fight, and now I can’t wait for the world to be able to watch us make that happen.
“All I know is that from my side, this will be an all-out war, last man standing kind of fight. Neither will give up until the last bell rings. I won’t be looking to take this to the scorecards though. This will be explosive from the off. I’m so up for this.”