Chris Eubank Jnr: The world’s toughest Nepo baby

NO different from any other beneficiary of nepotism, aka “baby nepo”, Chris Eubank Jnr has been both helped and hindered by a famous fighting family during his 11 years of existence. his professional career. Sometimes, he manages to exploit it, screaming and milking it for all it deserves, while, at other times, he tries to distance himself from the name – or at least. especially his father – and carry out his act. the best is to give the impression of a self-made man standing on his own two feet.

A complex, unusual character, Eubank Jnr, in truth, would seem fresh and unique if he were not in fact his father’s son. But, alas, so in the eyes of many he follows only one lineage. The flow of his gene pool. A script. A road.

That said, based on how he presents himself, he’s clearly someone who strives to be different; different from the rest; different from his father. He does this in a variety of ways, some with success, others with less. He spoke slowly, with moderation and method, choosing his words carefully, and he often put his opponents down, downplaying them, and treating them as inferior. He said he did it because they didn’t suit him in the ring, nor in front of the microphone.

In many ways, such performances are the hallmark of a “nepo baby”. These performances are fueled by the kind of arrogance and entitlement reserved only for those born into a life of privilege and opportunity. In the case of Chris Eubank Jnr, we are witnessing this attitude of him well into his thirties, when he has finally escaped the shadow of his famous father and grown up as a young man. The man was both a warrior. With the distance, it seems he has found freedom. He also found himself; reinventing himself, with the necessary freedom, as someone who can hold the room in his hand and dissect the thoughts of his opponent sitting next to him in a dramatic press conference. This he did very well when he was preparing to face Liam Williams in 2021 and it is something he also did quite well when he was preparing to face Conor Benn last October. Meanwhile, for the past few weeks, he’s been practicing this same spell with Liam Smith, who is experienced and wise enough to see it coming, yet shows signs of being dragged along. caught up in the kind of mind game he would ideally consider. avoid.

Eubank Jnr, you feel, enjoys these mental battles as much as the physical ones. He does them with a wry smile, tongue sticking out his cheek, and, unlike his father, deliberately choosing to emphasize certain words and sentiments for effect, all in the name of war. comb.

Perhaps, at the age of 33, Eubank Jnr felt the need to assert the mental advantage ahead of this match. No longer a one-man army of flailing limbs and boundless butts, Eubank Jnr, in the final act of his career, calmed down, both as a boxer and as a man. . He is much more thoughtful in his approach, not only before but when the bell rings, seemingly influenced by Roy Jones Jnr, his coach, as well as his father, ultimate affect. It’s all about control, that’s all. Now he has it in a way he never had before. He controls his own moves. He controls what he says. Better yet, he also controls what his opponents say and sometimes thinks, in the hopes that, once he’s in control of this, it’ll be easier to control their moves during teamfights.

That, given Eubank Jnr’s own limitations, is of course never a guarantee, but he still tries, which is admirable. However, he still tries to arrange the deck in his favor and he still tries to remind his opponents that they are not on the same level as him – intellectually, psychologically, physically – by every chance there is.

Indeed, in a fascinating interview with Alex Steedman on boxing news’ Opening Bell’s podcast, Eubank Jnr recently said, “The difference between me and many boxers is that I know how to talk. I have vocabulary; I’m not an idiot. A lot of these guys are uneducated. All they have is ‘you’re an asshole’, ‘you’re a tit for tat’, ‘I’ll knock you out’. What did Liam (Smith) say? ‘You think you’re a superstar but you’re far from there’. That’s all the basics of a student. It’s a shame. I can express it a lot more clearly so they understand that.”

Chris Eubank Jr with father Chris Eubank Snr (Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

Eubank Jnr, like so many other boxers I’ve met over the years, isn’t nearly as smart or articulate as he’d like to believe, nor as stupid as many people outside the boxing bubble are. think. He’s well-spoken, that’s without a doubt, especially in the context of his profession, but that, some would argue, is largely unimportant in the context of his profession as well. After all, fighting is what matters in a sport like boxing and for a long time some would argue that Eubank Jnr’s words spoke louder than his actions. .

Maybe that’s the truth. However, while some may say that Eubank Jnr has avoided certain challenges as a professional, he has never shied away from questions, nor has his past . In fact, as an adult, he has almost used his upbringing and decent education – in the academic sense as opposed to the boxing sense – as another stick to beat poor opponents. more eloquent. Since day one, he has also taken financial privileges from his surname and used it to open many doors along the way, even if from the very beginning one could say that this is the cause of great conflict for Eubank Jnr. Always torn, there was always a desire to simultaneously embrace the good that his surname could bring him and a desperation to run away from it altogether, if only for reasons related to legitimacy. Without running, some feel, he will (a) never truly be who he is and (b) never receive the full and deserving credit for whatever he is. he achieved – sadly, destined to be forever compared to his father.

“I’ve actually been jumping rope like that since day one,” Eubank Jnr told me 10 years ago at a gym in Vauxhall when I asked him about his decision to do so during his professional debut. he. (I could say that the impression that others had influenced him hurt Eubank Jnr even back then. Blame him for imitation, but you wouldn’t dare assume he didn’t decide to repeat it. back to his father’s steps.) “I did it for my first amateur game and have been doing it ever since. No one told me to do it when I debuted professionally. That’s just what I always do.

“However, the song selection (‘Simply the Best’) was a group decision,” he continued to admit. “Honestly, at first, I wasn’t sure about it, but we talked and both felt that the fans would appreciate it. Finally, I think it worked. It was an entrance to the nostalgic ring and my father’s presence obviously helped a lot too. When my dad stands in front of the camera and then moves away to reveal me, it’s telling everyone that he is and this is now.”

This process, which is somewhat annoying, takes time. That’s not to say it’s not fun to see Chris Eubank Senior write lyrics about his son at press conferences or, during matches with Latvian cruisers, stand and stare at his son for 60 years. seconds between sets. Because it was. However, if Eubank Jnr, aged 22, thinks he can simply pick and choose the times when his famous surname will come in handy and then someone else the rest of the time, he he made a big mistake.

“Of course there will be similarities between the two of us,” he said afterwards with a sigh. “I am his son and we share the same blood and DNA. Things may not be exactly the same, but if you watch the way I punch and move, I’m sure you’ll notice the similarities. It’s just a natural thing. I’m not trying to impersonate him or steal ideas.

“One aspect of his game that I like to apply to my style is his movement. His ring champ is truly impressive, and that’s something I’ve certainly learned from him over the years. As for a great chin, I’m sure I’ve got the same shot, but that’s not something I’m going to show off anytime soon.”

Slowly but surely, Eubank Jnr began to look more and more like his father and also more and more like his father. The monosyllabic vulgarity of his early days has now mellowed and transformed into a playful, mischievous kind of charm, while every fidgety act he performs on fight night is engineered to confuse rather than cause anything like the chaos of old. Maybe this is simply because he is aware of his limitations, both physically and professionally. Or maybe, when left alone, and when finally able to accept both the perks and pitfalls of being a “nepo baby,” Eubank Jnr was finally able to truly discover herself. who is and what kind of warrior and personality does he really want to be. .

That is to say, while on the surface being Chris Eubank’s son seems like a guaranteed path to the top (financially at least), the scale of the shadow is like no other. It was so big, this shadow, it sometimes seemed impossible to get out of, and for years Eubank Jnr would sit in press conferences and almost crouch in the presence of his old man, knowing that eventually The press gathering is also waiting for him. He’s also had him in the gym for years, and with him in the corner, the partnership works better in some cases than others. Then, when he’s not there, the son is inevitably asked “Where’s your dad?” and had to try to think of something reassuring in return.

Even now, with Eubank Jnr, a seasoned 33-year-old campaigner, he is often asked this question. It was asked almost weekly before Eubank Jnr’s woeful battle against fellow “nepo baby” Conor Benn last October, with nostalgic junkies not only confused but frustrated by the absence. of Senior in the early part of the battle, especially with the plot involved. (To be fair, Nigel Benn is also a distant spectator.) However, it is possible, planned or not (and likely not), Eubank Jnr versus Benn if not a complete opportunity. Perfect to cancel umbilical cord boxing, which runs from son to father, happens once and for all.

Since then, Eubank Jnr has reconnected with Roy Jones Jnr, with whom he has been preparing for his upcoming battle with Smith, and he has continued to show himself there, despite the extra effort to sell a more suspiciously paid views than for any newly discovered generosity or altruism. He, rightly or wrongly, has repositioned himself as a “star”, a character, a personality. After mulling it over, Eubank Jnr, if not already a good guy, now comes up with the idea that the pantomime villain is probably the best way to get to the final leg of his professional career’s ups and downs.

In other words, despite having lived together for many years and seem to be very attached to each other, it was only through distance and disconnection that Chris Eubank Jnr finally learned a lesson – or trick – the key. for everything that made his father unique. and superstar success of the 1990s. Without seeing the original, it could be argued that Chris Eubank Jnr now acts more like his father than ever before.


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