By Samuel Lee
How did the Eubank family get involved in boxing?
My brothers Peter and Simon were inspired by Muhammad Ali beating George Foreman and the Rocky movie. They started training, quit smoking and moved to Brighton and turned professional.
I followed in their footsteps when I moved to New York in ’82-’83. It was impossible in inner East London because there was too much influence for me to smoke, drink, steal and deal. But in New York, you’d be shot if you stole, so it wasn’t a choice.
What would you consider your biggest help in becoming a world-class boxer?
#1 My brothers bullying me and me wanting their acceptance.
#2 My obsessive compulsions for perfection. I was a late starter but I would repeat each punch and each move 10,000 times each.
When did you believe you could be world champion?
Iran Barkley was ranked world #1 and I sparred with the same men he sparred with, Dennis Milton and Richard Burton, and would be told I handled them better than he did.
Coming up the ranks, what fighters were your trickiest tasks?
Southpaws James Canty and Jose Da Silva. I didn’t know either were southpaw and it is vital you have southpaw sparring before facing one. Da Silva had beaten Olympic Champion Maske before turning over so I was already concerned, even without knowing he was southpaw.
Frank Moro covered a lot of the ring and Winston Burnett covered a lot of his head and body. Randy Smith was a higher class of journeyman but stood his ground more with his hands low and I knew every trick in the book from my tens of thousands of rounds of New York City sparring.
How hard did Nigel Benn punch?
Harder than I knew one could be hit.
How tough was Steve Collins’s chin?
Very tough. So was his mind. He overcame the odds. Of course he had nowhere near as much experience and knowledge as me, let alone talent. It was his third or fourth world title fight and it was my 20th world championship contest. Collins had fought in front of no more than 5,000 people, whereas I had fought in front of 15,000 or more on 20 occasions.
He had never fought at Madison Square Gardens or York Hall, like me. Never fought in front of 25% of a nation five times a year, like me.
I had the best training facilities – shiny equipment used only by myself, custom-built jab contraption, custom-built uppercut contraption, custom-built one-two contraption, new training gear every day.
Steve had to que for the washing machine in the Matchroom fighters’ shared house, and Freddie King at the gym in Romford was the first person to actually show him how to punch.
But what Steve had was hunger. He was nobody. Who was he? He was starving to make his name and I offered the best platform in the game, and that gave fighters that extra 15% against me.
The 15% taken away from me that night was me wanting to hurt Steve Collins the man, not score points against Steve Collins the boxer, and that was due to a planned racial remark from him in the build-up that managed to squeeze beneath my very thick African skin.
How good was Joe Calzaghe?
He had very quick hands and an awkward southpaw stance and hit me very hard from awkward angles. He had a great career. I’m proud of him.
Who are the most skilful fighters you’ve seen?
Duran would be one. He was the master at slipping punches while closing the distance, which is the most difficult skill to master.
Joe Louis would be another in that everything he did was textbook correct.
How far will Chris Eubank Jr go?
To undefeated, undisputed, unified middleweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight world champion, politics permitting. And my other son Sebastian will do the same for heavyweight, politics permitting.