Chris Eubank Jr. has proved a polarising figure in recent times. For some, he ‘can’t fight’ because he lost a split decision to the gifted Billy Joe Saunders and was outslicked by an inspired George Groves. Others see flashes of brilliance that can be upgraded to something more substantial by a good coach and a willingness to listen.
The younger Eubank was effectively self-trained for much of his career, taking guidance from his celebrated father, but sometimes that advice wandered into leftfield territory.
He got by on natural talent, heart and a sturdy chin, but could look ponderous against clever, well-schooled boxers like Saunders and Groves. Yet wins over James DeGale (W12), Avni Yildirim (WKO3) and Arthur Abraham (W12) indicate he belongs at the higher level.
But, even at 30, his raw talent still requires moulding. Now Eubank (29-2, 22 KOs) has moved in a more positive direction after his father enlisted the guidance of the great Roy Jones Jr. as the younger man seeks to fulfil his potential on a grander scale.
“Who could tell me better than my father? Being taught by my father for so long, it was hard to entrust that to just anybody,” Eubank Jr. told Sky Sports. “Which is why I didn’t have a full-time trainer for so many years. But Roy is exactly what I need to take me to the next level.
“Roy is a trainer in the truest sense – with you day-in day-out, working on things, showing you things, staying on point at all times.
“My father instructed me and said: ‘Go and do it’. He hasn’t been able to stay in the gym, I was left to my own devices. That did work. I learned a lot from my father.
“But with Roy? It’s more hands-on every day. I have two former world champions guiding me, what more could I ask for? The sky is the limit now.”
Jones likes what he sees in the younger Eubank so far and was immediately receptive to Chris Sr.’s overtures to train his son.
“I was excited, I always admired Chris Sr. from afar,” new trainer Jones told Sky Sports. “When he called, it was an honour and a privilege from a fellow fighter to put their son in your hands. A legend asked, ‘Take my son to the next level’.
“I’m open-minded [if Eubank Sr. has advice], I’m not stubborn that my way is the only way. If he brings advice, I will listen to it. Why would I not?”
“Heart, punching power, will to win, there are several similarities between father and son. Junior has more speed than his father had. Brains with speed? It’s very hard to beat that.”
Main image: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime.