Chris Eubank Sr and Nigel Benn faced off in Birmingham on November 18 in 1990, the first bout of a rivalry that would go down in British boxing history.
The drama started before the first bell. Benn’s team sabotaged Eubank’s ring walk, the familiar beat of Tina Turner’s Simply The Best – also Eubank’s nickname – cutting out when the fighter was making his way through the baying crowd.
Benn’s entrance went off without incident. He jogged on the way to the ring covered in a film of sweat having not yet thrown a punch. Once the two fighters were in, and as the announcer did his thing, the hatred they felt was clear. Benn jerked around practicing quick combos as Eubank stared statuesque, watching his prey.
The bell rang and so began Benn’s second defence of his WBO middleweight title. The action was immediate and every punch thrown had the intent to hurt.
Momentum shifted back and forth throughout the fight as the crowd grew louder – well aware that any blow could be the final one. An overhand right in the eighth put Eubank down. He claimed a slip but took a count and rallied until the end of the round against an effectively one-eyed Benn.
The champion’s level of exhaustion was capitalised on in the ninth, and Eubank ended what was a brutal scrap with a flurry of unanswered punches that caused a stoppage.
Referee Richard Steele would go on to say that it was the most dramatic fight he had ever called. The rivalry, of course, wasn’t finished there, with the pair fighting again three years later to a split-draw. Fast forward three decades, and their sons were days away from digging it all up once more.
You can relive the action in full below.