Eubank Jr vs Benn: Destroyer rejected Eddie Hearn’s welterweight plan and urged him to make bout

From the moment whispers of a potential Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr matchup first surfaced, promoter Eddie Hearn faced familiar accusations of greed; of cashing out on his young welterweight prospect and threatening his reputation, career and health in the process.

Because Eubank Jr vs Benn, a nostalgic fantasy fight which pits the offspring of British boxing’s most famous enemies against one another, would simply never be happening if not for the rivalry synonymous with their family names, and both sons have been forced out of their comfort zone at a catchweight to make it happen.

Eubank, a 160-pounder by the skin of his teeth these days, must cut down to 157lbs for this money-spinning event on October 8, a weight he has not made since his teenage years. Chris Sr opened up on the grave concerns he has with that weight cut in a sensational interview with Sportsmail earlier this month, where he revealed his wishful aim to curtail the fight out of fear for his son’s safety.

But for Benn, the health risks involved are surely even greater. The 25-year-old was enjoying a slow and steady ascent towards world level at 147lbs before being steered dangerously off track and towards the glistening pound notes dangling above a nonsensical mega-bout with Eubank – who was campaigning at 168lbs only three years ago.

Yet while Hearn and others pulling the financial strings were seen as the driving force behind an apparent money-motivated mismatch, Benn’s manager Charlie Sims has provided a different version of events. Instead, it was his fighter who lit the flame.

Sims, the former reality star-turned boxing manager son of Benn’s head coach Tony, casts his mind back to the birth of Eubank vs Benn 3. ‘We were sitting in a meeting with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom HQ; there was me, Tony, Conor Benn and his lawyer,’ he tells Sportsmail. ‘We were looking at dates and October 8 was always going to be Conor’s date whether it was against Chris or somebody else. We were looking for an opponent and just having that usual conversation of “who can we fight?”

‘But Matchroom were suggesting fighters that Conor wasn’t particularly happy with or didn’t want to fight. They were fighters of the same calibre as Chris van Heerden, Chris Algieri, Samuel Vargas, and Conor was like, “do you know what guys, I appreciate you putting the date aside for me and trying to put this together, but this isn’t what I want to do.”

‘He did Sebastian Formella, Vargas, Algieri, Van Heerden, four of those guys, and they were step-ups. But he kind of just said, “I’m ready now and I want to fight a live opponent.”‘

Talk subsequently turned to more complex welterweight tests, and Keith Thurman’s name initially arose as one of the likelier candidates. Having only competed three times in the last five-and-a-half years, and once in the last three, the former unified world champion seemingly ticked all the relevant boxes: big name, world level, beatable.

At one stage Thurman looked the most realistic option for Benn in his pursuit of an advanced challenge, only for talks with the American to hit a snag.

‘He [Thurman] was the one that was materialising a little bit more,’ Sims recalls. ‘But the fight wasn’t really making progress in the way I would’ve liked it to. It was a bit like, “the money’s not enough, I don’t know if I want to come to the UK, I want to see what else is going on in the US”.

‘It wasn’t really there, so that was when we had to make the decision to look for another opportunity.’

It was at this point when the wildcard of all wildcards was thrown into the mix.

‘The funny thing is,’ Sims laughs, ‘the Chris Eubank fight always gets floated in these meetings as a kind of insider joke. We say “what about the Eubank fight?” And then everybody just laughs.

‘But we kind of knew deep down that maybe it could happen. And when we actually said it this time, Eddie was like “yeah, I think we might actually be able to do this.”‘

Eubank’s non-attachment to a television broadcaster long term, following two recent outings on Sky Sports, and Hearn’s solid relationship with his promoters Kalle and Nisse Sauerland provided a green light for the long-running office joke to become reality.

It was Team Benn who put the wheels in motion by initiating contact with Eubank’s representatives, proposing a date of destiny against their young charge in London on October 8, and when that offer was accepted early negotiations breezed through at a surprising pace.

Sims continues: ‘The way these talks tend to go is there’s normally a few non-negotiables; like the weight, the purse and maybe location depending on who it is. So believe it or not, we actually made really quick ground on the first part of the negotiation.

‘Eubank’s team suggested the weight and we were like “ok, we’ve looked into it and we’ve got science behind this that tells us Conor can make this weight quite easily, so we don’t think that’ll be a problem. We actually think it’s more of a problem for Chris, because he’s struggled to make 160 a few times, so we don’t understand how he’s gonna get below 160 if he’s struggling at it.”‘

‘So we said we were happy with the weight and ticked that off, but then one of the big things was that the fight poster had to be Eubank-Benn, it couldn’t be the other way round or they weren’t interested. We were like, “let’s not let our egos get in the way of doing good business, so let’s just give him the fight poster. Who f****** cares?'”

Benn had no qualms giving in to Eubank’s poster or weight stipulations, meaning the only hurdle left to overcome before the finish line came into sight was money. Or so it seemed.

Financial contracts were agreed with little trouble, despite Eubank’s demands slowing proceedings down significantly. Once that was complete, Benn’s team began pondering a troubling scenario whereby their opponent sticks a finger up to the agreed weight limit and accepts the standard penalty which comes his way.

To protect Benn, Sims and Co returned to the negotiating table to impose hefty fines should Eubank tip the scales too heavily next month. A rehydration clause, to prevent him from gaining too much weight on the day of the contest, was also inserted.

‘Because of how big this fight is and how big the purses are, we knew there could have been a chance that Chris could just walk in on the day of the weigh-in and say, “do you know what, there’s no title on the line, I’ll just come in two or three pound over and I’ll just pay my fine”,’ said Sims. ‘We knew that could’ve been a problem and if that is the case or was the case, two or three pounds is quite a significant amount of weight.

‘So we had to make sure that the fines were right and they were in line with him trying to make the weight, which they are now thankfully. And then there was a rehydration clause that we had to put in place. Again, it was kind of led by them, they said we want to rehydrate in this way, which we think is fair for everybody, and we agreed.’

Not only would Eubank sacrifice a large chunk of his earnings, but if he fails to stick to the contracted weight Benn will also have the opportunity to cancel the fight altogether. Nevertheless, one day out from a historic encounter he feels the stars have been aligned for, some may argue the Destroyer will be reluctant to do so.

So while Benn and his team have covered their own backs, are there still concerns that the worst-case scenario could play out?

‘Definitely from our side,’ Sims admits, ‘and that’s why we revisited it down the line, because considering how much everybody’s getting paid for this fight and how big it’s gonna be, there’s every opportunity that he’s gonna say, “I can’t make the weight and I’m just gonna come in at 160” – which is what he struggles to make anyway. So I think that was always in the back of everybody’s mind.

‘Luckily we’ve got an experienced team and Tony was really hot on it. He wanted it to be a fair fight and I think the weights that are in place make it a really fair fight.’

If any members of Benn’s camp were going to be reluctant to head to 157lbs for a Eubank mega-fight, Tony Sims, the wise and experienced coach who has stewarded his cautious path at welterweight, would surely have been the most logical sceptic.

Knowing they were on track to challenge for world honours in his natural weight class within the next year, it would not have been a surprise had Sims put an arm around his young charge, urged him to think about the bigger picture and avoid taking an unnecessary risk.

However, for both the teacher and the pupil, this was clearly the right risk at the right time.

Sims Jr says: ‘Originally my dad was very much saying, “I like the fight and think you’ve got the tools and fundamentals to go and beat Chris, but we are on a welterweight rampage here. We’re making big waves in the welterweight division, you’re really close to getting a welterweight title shot, so can we just explore that a little bit more and understand what that would look like?”

‘I think it was only when we really started hitting the walls of we can’t really get a title shot at the moment, we’ll probably have to wait until next year, Conor wants to fight in October, potentially December as well depending on how the October fight goes, and then it was like who could we actually get in?

‘Going back to those names, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman, they were the names that he wanted to fight, the big names. They weren’t prepared to come over here, maybe the money wasn’t enough for them or the opportunity wasn’t something that they really wanted to take. But it was like, who else can we get that: one, sells out an arena and two, Conor Benn feels comfortable fighting, because he feels like people are still saying he’s getting hand-picked opponents and they’re not up to the level he’s at.

‘I think he really wanted to make a statement in his next fight, so it was really about what Conor and Tony wanted to do. Tony wanted to look at that welterweight path just to see what was there, we started looking at those fights and they weren’t really materialising.

‘And to be honest, the money was ridiculous compared to the Chris Eubank fight. I think Conor would have had to do three or four of those fights to get the same money at welterweight. The money did play a big part, but there is a bit of backstory here.’

Just a bit.

In a little over two weeks’ time, a bonkers blockbuster which promises to unite generations and transcend the sport will be held in front of 20,000 baying fans at the O2 Arena and millions more across the globe.

Benn and Eubank Jr’s names have been bound together ever since the former made his professional debut back in April 2016, though with his born rival on the cusp of a world-title shot at super-middleweight their dream battle seemed lightyears away at best – a pipe dream in reality.

Now the sons of two iconic adversaries find themselves on the most unlikely of collision courses, and their dads are expected to play starring roles in what should be an unforgettable build-up.

Yet while Eubank Sr recently threatened to pull the plug, Nigel Benn was actually consulted before negotiations even took place.

And fittingly, his response was a complete contrast of his old nemesis.

When presented with the options on the table for his son, Nigel had a simple instruction for former sparring partner Tony Sims: ‘Make the Eubank fight.’

‘My son is ready,’ he said. ‘He will beat Chris Eubank.’

Добавить комментарий

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield’s names were not on the…
GB News weekend Breakfast presenters Anne Diamond and Stephen Dixon…
Britons urge Liz Truss to support Ukraine even if Kyiv attacks Russia in latest poll
Ukraine and Western countries say referendums on joining Russia in territories Russia has captured are a sham designed to justify…
Kwasi Kwarteng hints at more tax cuts after bold mini budget announcement
In a hint there could be more tax cuts to come, Mr Kwarteng told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme:…
  • 30 минут назад 25.09.2022Sport
    Roger Federer named ‘definitely the GOAT’ over rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

    Roger Federer has been declared the greatest men’s tennis player of all time by Express Sport readers, following his retirement at the Laver Cup on Friday. The 41-year-old has struggled with a recurring knee injury over the last 12 months but wanted to retire on his own terms.

    Federer was unable to conclude his impressive career with a victory though, losing a doubles match at the Laver Cup alongside Rafael Nadal to Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe. The pair lost 6-4, 6-7, 9-11, though that didn’t take anything away from what was an emotional evening at the O2.

    Federer was unable to hold back the tears as celebrations began in London, with many thanking the Swiss superstar for what he has done for the sport. The 20-time Grand Slam winner has broken numerous records throughout his career, and many believe that he is the ‘GOAT’.

    According to our readers, 57.7 per cent of people believe that Federer is ‘definitely’ the greatest player to ever grace the court. Though the eight-time Wimbledon winner faces plenty of competition for that top spot, with 36.2 per cent taking the view that he is in the top three but not the very best. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are his big rivals for supremacy.

    Federer concludes his career with the third-most Grand Slam titles ever, behind Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21) and it will remain a mystery as to whether he could have ever topped the leaderboard without his spells on the sideline through injury. Just 4.6 per cent of our survey respondents feel that Federer is only in the top five greatest men’s players, with a mere 1.5 per cent taking the view that he is only in the top 10.

    Speaking after his farewell match on Friday night, Federer did hint that he would not be away from the world of tennis for long and suggested that he would meet again with those not fortunate enough to watch his match in person. He explained: “I think the message from me was just making sure I relay my passion for the sport to the fans, and I let them know that hopefully, we’ll see each other again on a different type of tennis court, like you said, somewhere around the world.

    “I have no plans whatsoever, where, how, when. All I know is I would love to go and play places I have never played before or go say thank yous for years to come to all the people that have been so supportive of me.

    “Because the hard part about the Laver Cup was that tickets were already sold out. You know, the people who maybe would have also loved to be here couldn’t make it. Maybe there is another way down the stretch we can party all together.”

  • 30 минут назад 25.09.2022Sport
    Laver Cup 2022 LIVE: Team Europe 8-4 Team World as Murray and Djokovic denied doubles

    It all comes down to the final day with Team Europe once again the favourites to win the Laver Cup after winning both evening matches last night. Novak Djokovic made his official comeback after being unable to play since his Wimbledon triumph back in July.

    And the former world No 1 made it look easy as he dispatched Frances Tiafoe in straight sets before teaming up with Matteo Berrettini to beat Jack Sock and Alex de Minaur. Those two victories give Team Europe a four-point lead heading into the final day and could have retain their trophy with two more victories.

    Team World are still bidding to win their first Laver Cup title having missed out in the previous four editions. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Sock will be looking to get Team World off to a flying start on Sunday as they team up for a doubles match against Andy Murray and Berrettini.

    Sunday’s schedule is slightly different to Friday and Saturday with all matches being play back-to-back with play starting at 12pm. Stay tuned for live updates throughout the day with the Laver Cup to be decided later this afternoon.

  • 1 час, 17 минут назад 25.09.2022Sport
    Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham could be available for just ‘£83 million next summer’

    Jude Bellingham could be available for just ‘£83 million’ next summer so ‘long as the fee is paid in full up front’.

    The 19-year-old has established himself as one of the most exciting young players in world football, with 100 caps for Borussia Dortmund and 16 for England already.

    He was widely praised as one of England’s few bright sparks in their 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday night.

    According to reports in The Sun, Manchester City and Liverpool are both targeting the midfielder, who could be available for ‘£50m less than the £135m previously expected to be Dortmund’s price so long as the fee is fully paid up front.’

    They also report that Bellingham remains close with Erling Haaland, with the Norwegian striker promoting life at the Etihad to his former teammate.

    City have already brought in a top midfielder in Kalvin Phillips, but doubts over the futures of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva make Bellingham an excellent option for the Premier League champions.

    For Liverpool, their recent injury struggles have brought their lack of depth into focus. The reds are currently missing four key midfielders, and their results have been affected by absences this season.

    Bringing in Bellingham could help Liverpool mitigate against future injury crises and begin to futureproof an ageing squad.

    Manchester United are also said to be interested in the England star, but would need to qualify for the Champions League this season to have a realistic chance of signing him.

  • 1 час, 17 минут назад 25.09.2022Sport
    Sky Sports ‘want to rival Netflix to produce a Drive To Survive-style doc for the Premier League’

    Sky Sports are aiming to rival Netflix to make a Drive to Survive-style documentary for the Premier League, according to reports.

    The Premier League and the company behind the hugely successful Formula One doc are said to be set for talks in the coming days about a brand new behind-the-scenes project.

    And as reported by the Telegraph, if the idea goes ahead, US-owned Sky – the English top-flight’s biggest broadcast partner – want to be in contention to produce it.

    Box-to-box – the production company for an Amazon documentary on Steven Gerrard titled Make us Dream – are thought to have contacted all 20 clubs in the division individually over the potential project.

    Any project, though, would hinge on each and every one of the 20 clubs coming to an agreement and deciding on the extent of access they are prepared to allow filming crews.

    Sky, owned by US company Comcast, have a three-year rights package with the Premier League worth £3.6billion.

    Perhaps strangely, Sky has insisted smash hit Drive to Survive was itself the main reason for the recent explosion of F1, despite viewing figures for the sport increasing by 40 per cent since the show’s launch.

    Instead, they claim their coverage has been a key factor in that surge in popularity.

    So far, documentaries about Premier League sides have stuck to just one club, with Manchester City, Tottenham and most recently Arsenal made by Amazon Prime in the ‘All or Nothing’ series.

    That series has also included Brazil’s national team, New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby union side.

    Given that the Premier League has become one of the world’s leading sporting brands, with 3.2billion viewers tuning in in 2019-20 alone, it is hard to believe that the purpose of a series would be to ensnare a new generation of fans.

    But with the success of sporting documentaries in the USA, the potential to harness potential new markets would likely bring financial incentives to the 20 sides involved.

    A documentary series, backed by the broadcasting power of Netflix could also serve to drive up the Premier League’s international broadcast rights value, which is thought to be the path of greatest growth potential for the division.

    And with Netflix announcing a 200,000 decline in subscribers earlier this year, a project could serve to benefit both parties, as well as bring fans an unrivalled look at the inner workings of the league.

    Brandon Riegg, Netflix’s head of unscripted programming and documentaries, told Bloomberg earlier this year that tennis, golf and F1 series helped the streaming giant ‘recruit folks who’d never watched sports or never watched Formula One’.

    Riegg also mentioned successful highlights programmes for American football and basketball that have been running in the US for decades, saying: ‘How long has Inside the NFL been going on? Or Inside the NBA? We’re trying to build that same virtuous cycle.’

  • 1 час, 17 минут назад 25.09.2022Sport
    Manchester United receive potential boost in pursuit of Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak

    Manchester United have received a potential boost in their pursuit of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

    According to The Mirror, Atletico have identified Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez as a potential replacement should Oblak depart.

    Oblakis widely regarded as one of the standout shot-stoppers in world football.

    United have been linked with a move for Oblak, with the 29-year-old seen as a possible replacement for David de Gea.

    In the summer Oblak signed a new deal with Atletico that is set to run until the end of June 2028.

    Oblak has frequently impressed for Atletico and possesses much experience of playing in the Champions League.

    He has made 360 appearances in total for Atletico since joining the club in 2014.

    Martinez has only played twice in the Champions League, with those two appearances coming for Arsenal in the 2014-15, but he has made a major impact for Aston Villa in the Premier League since leaving the Gunners in 2020.

  • 1 час, 17 минут назад 25.09.2022Sport
    Harry Redknapp reveals wife Sandra was ‘struggling for breath’ after serious bout of Covid-19

    Harry Redknapp has recalled how he feared for his wife Sandra when she was struggling with a serious bout of Covid-19.

    Redknapp stated that Sandra was struggling to breathe and had difficulty swallowing food.

    The former Tottenham, West Ham and Portsmouth manager added that the situation was ‘a real worry’.

    As reported by The Sun, Redknapp said: ‘The symptoms weren’t good, if I’m truthful.

    ‘You start to think about all kinds of sinister things. It’s been a real worry.

    ‘Sandra has suffered. Her voice had packed up and she was struggling for breath.

    ‘Even swallowing food became difficult. She could choke on food easily if we weren’t careful.’

    Sandra added that she felt Covid attacked previous surgery which she had on her neck.

    Her voice was weak, with her vocal cords not working properly.

    Sandra said: ‘I think Covid attacked previous surgery that I’d had on my neck.

    ‘You don’t realise what your vocal cords do until they’re not working, because it affects breathing as well as talking.

    ‘The shortness of breath was very difficult. My voice would vibrate and was very weak.’

    Redknapp, who was most recently in charge of Birmingham, announced his retirement from management in 2017.

  • Загрузить еще
U.S. inflation falls for 2nd straight month on lower gas costs
Sharply lower prices for gas and cheaper used cars slowed U.S. inflation in August for a second straight month, though…
G-7 announces price cap deal on Russian oil in win for Yellen
Finance ministers from the Group of Seven major economies announced an agreement Friday to impose a cap on the price…

Sport Eubank Jr vs Benn: Destroyer rejected Eddie Hearn's welterweight plan and urged him to make bout