In July of 2021, days before Sebastian Eubank’s 30th birthday, the young father died of a heart attack linked to an unknown, pre-existing condition.
Grief in the Eubank clan was met with an outpouring of support from the boxing community. He was, after all, a part of the family. As Eubank Jr prepares to face Conor Benn in a fight that reignites a rivalry created by his father and Nigel Benn three decades ago, he is drawing motivation from the trauma.
Speaking openly in a pre-fight documentary by Matchroom, Chris Eubank Jr tells how a painting of his brother hangs in his gym as guidance. He goes on to discuss Sebastian’s son, who was born mere weeks before his untimely passing.
“I had a painting of my brother [made]. I bought the painting and I was going to put it in my house, but I thought where would it mean the most? Not just to me but to all the people that he touched, and it’s in this gym. Where I experience pain, where I get fit – let him watch over that.”
“My brother has a son, who now grows up without a biological father. He has a father in me. I’m going to watch out for him and provide for him for the rest of his life. I have to make sure that I can make enough money to get him everything he’s going to need as he grows. Let him be in my mind every single day while I’m going through the trials and tribulations that a fight camp bring. Have him there as a reminder of why I’m doing this. Family. Upholding the Eubank name.”
Sebastian Eubank had a brief stint in the family business. There’s little doubt that he would be one of the loudest voices of support in his brother’s camp. In the cruellest of twists, the family thread running through this huge event will likely serve as a sobering reminder for Chris that he can’t be there.
Ronnie Davies – godfather to Sebastian, trainer to Senior and now trainer to Junior – was sorely affected by the loss too. From his words, it seems there is still some healing to do.
“Of course it was hard. I was godfather to the kid. Just devastated. Shocked. Everyone was shocked – and we don’t talk about it.”
As Seb watches over his brother training for one of the biggest fights of the year, perhaps the decade, it’s clear that there’s more at stake here for Chris Eubank Jr than he sometimes allows us to see.