Eubank Jnr vows to teach bitter rival Benn a lesson for drugs shame

‘I want to punish Conor Benn for what he did to me, the fans and to boxing’: Chris Eubank Jnr vows to teach bitter rival a lesson for drugs shame… after he’s taken care of Liam Smith in Manchester on Saturday

  • Eubank Jnr insists Benn must be punished severely for failing two drugs tests
  • Fans and fighters were let down after the grudge match was called off last year
  • Benn is waiting to hear if he will be fined or suspended over the positive tests
  • Eubank Jr is due to take on Liam Smith in a domestic clash on Saturday night 

Chris Eubank Jnr believes Conor Benn must be punished severely for the chaos he inflicted on boxing by failing two drugs tests that forced the last-minute cancellation of their blockbuster fight last year.

But he admits when Benn is back he will happily get in the ring with him.

As Benn waits for the powers that be to reach their findings on the positive tests — he suggests ‘contamination’ was to blame — and their alleged cover-ups, Eubank is in no doubt what the conclusion should be.

Conor Benn’s failed drug tests led to his grudge match with Chris Eubank Jr being called off

‘For the morality of sport and the good of boxing (if he’s broken the rules), he should be punished for what I see as a crime, to the maximum in terms of suspension and fines,’ Eubank tells Sportsmail ahead of his fight with Liam Smith tomorrow night in Manchester. ‘But if he is allowed to box again I hope his first fight back will be against me.’

So why resurrect a fight against a man he deems a cheat? ‘Because I personally want to punish him badly for what he did to me, to the fighters who would have been on the undercard that night, to the fans, to boxing.’

Images of Eubank looking skeletal after getting down below the middleweight limit to take the fight, sharpen the angst. ‘I would still have beaten him,’ he says, ‘but he put me through all that for no reason.

Benn twice tested positive for the banned substance clomifene in the lead up to the bout

‘This fight will always be there for whenever he is allowed to box. More so, because we now have our own history to add to a fight which was made in honour of our famous fathers. But now I’m in charge. It will be on my terms. At proper middleweight. No anti-rehydration clause. Continual dope testing. It will happen also because I’m a businessman-boxer. An entertainer who likes to please the fans. And because people love a scandal there will probably be more money there now.’

Did he dodge a bullet by not facing a muscular version of Benn? ‘Thank God for the scientists. They found the illegal substances in his blood,’ he says. ‘But for them I would have found myself fighting a hulk, a very different man from what he usually is.

‘The evidence is there in two failed tests. It will be even harder now for him to change the minds of the public. They’re not dumb. They know Benn would have had an advantage.’ That advantage worried Chris Snr, who raged about his son accepting the low-weight clauses in the contract demanded by the Benn camp.

Eubank Jr is due to take on Liam Smith (right) in a domestic clash on Saturday night

Chris Jnr says: ‘Dad’s fine about us remaking the fight on our terms. He’s happy spending time now in America with his wife. He’s taken a step back from boxing. He’s happy being among people he loves and who love him.’ 

Eubank is confident in his plan for this weekend, even though Smith is a former world champion. ‘I know what Liam is capable of,’ Eubank says. 

‘He is a solid fighter, a hard man. If he goes after me I can pick him off. Although he’s good on the inside I’m at least as effective close up. When I put enough pressure on him he will fold. And when I look at a fighter with his ability who has won a world title, then it’s time that with my superior skills I get on with doing the same. I will deal with him in what I expect to be a fun fight for myself and the fans. Then see what comes next.’

At 33, that needs to be a world title shot against the great Mexican Canelo Alvarez. Another big win after Smith should make him the mandatory contender for that. Maybe, he muses, one in which he exacts revenge for his 2014 split decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders, who like Smith suffered a KO against Alvarez.

Eubank Jr has failed to kick on after beating James DeGale back in February 2019

A more relaxed element of Eubank’s build up for this weekend has been playing poker with his celebrated Brighton neighbour, Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister. ‘It’s cool,’ says Eubank, ‘to have a World Cup-winner living two doors away. What he did out there was very impressive.’ So who is the more poker-faced at the card table? He smiles: ‘Alex is the most disciplined.’

Ever the inscrutable. As he is again when pressed to nominate his preferred next fight. ‘One for the major belts. Benn can come when he’s free to fight again.’

That will be, in Chris Jnr’s estimation, when the son of Nigel has paid his debt to boxing.

Mexican Canelo Alvarez is potential opponent for Eubank Jr if he gets past Smith

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