Chris Eubank



Chris Eubank
(born Christopher Livingstone Eubanks on 8 August 1966) is a former boxer and British celebrity who held WorldMiddleweight and Super Middleweight boxing titles. He was world champion for over five years and undefeated as a middleweight.

Early life

Christopher Livingstone Eubanks (later opting to delete the ‘s’ from his surname) was born on 8 August 1966, in DulwichSouth London and spent his early days in Jamaica (from two months old to six years old).

On his return to England, he lived in Stoke NewingtonDalstonHackney and then Peckham; largely impoverished.

Chris attended Bellingden Junior School, and then Thomas Carlton Secondary School, from where he was suspended eighteen times in one year and then expelled, despite claiming he was gallantly trying to protect other children from bullies. He then attended Peckham Manor School, from where he was suspended five times in four weeks and then also expelled for the same reason. Chris was then put into care and spent time in various institutions under the care of Social Services. Some time was spent at Orchard Lodge Regional Resource Centre, Anerley in 1981.

When he was 16, his father sent him to New York to live with his mother in the tough South Bronx district.

Boxing career

Eubank made a fresh start in New York, beating drug, alcohol and shoplifting addictions to attend church and school. In his spare time he trained at the Jerome Boxing Club on Westchester Avenue, following in the footsteps of his boxing elder brothers (twins, Peter and Simons Eubanks) back in England. Eubank became obsessed with boxing training and went to the gym every day, even working as caretaker to pay his way. He won the 1984 Spanish Golden Gloves Tournament and also got to the semi-final stage of the main Golden Gloves tourney at Madison Square Garden at aged 18.

He writes in his autobiography that his drive to succeed in boxing came through his drive to become an accepted individual, largely caused by subjective bullying from his elder brothers.

He made his professional debut at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino against Tim Brown, shortly after his 19th birthday. About his next 10 fights went largely unnoticed, then in February 1989 he made brief headlines in defeating Jamaican Anthony Logan in an undercard match to a Nigel Benn-headlined show. Benn was arguably the biggest rising star in European sport at the time and Logan had come closest to beating the power-punching Benn in what was Benn’s most memorable clash to date. Eubank had already made Brighton in England his adopted hometown and set his sights on Benn, believing he could beat him.

After a string of impressive stoppage victories following a dominant 10-round decision over American ‘gatekeeper’/’journeyman’ Randy Smith, Eubank captured the WBC International title in 1990 against the useful Hugo Corti. Later in the year, he knocked out Renaldo Dos Santos in precisely 20 seconds (including the 10-count). Before long, he’d won the WBO World middleweight title against Nigel Benn (and the odds) in a classic encounter that was later released on DVD. Eubank would defend the title successfully against Dan Sherry, fellow BritonGary Stretch and finally in an excellent match with another fellow Briton, Michael Watson. This concluded Eubank’s career as a middleweight, with a 28-0 record.

rematch with Watson took place in September 1991 at which Watson suffered a near-fatal injury. Eubank was behind on all scorecards when he rose from the canvas at the end of the 11th round to unleash a devastating uppercut to Watson’s jaw. Early in the 12th, Watson collapsed. His condition may have been worsened by delay in receiving medical attention. Eubank contemplated quitting the sport. Commentator Reg Gutteridge claimed he had, “never seen a more dramatic end to a world title fight”. Eubank later reflected on the aftermath: “I lost my finishing instinct in the ring – I couldn’t finish fights any more. However, I needed to work and so I carried on and I won most of my fights on decisions. And I blamed myself, after all, it was me who threw the punch.” [1]

Eubank was particularly noted for his confidence, concentration, composure, and extravagant behaviour, and antics that included a vault over the top-rope into the ring before each fight. His trademark theme tune was Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” anthem. It also included often-hilarious posturing (particularly between rounds of fights). Eubank was by now presented as something of a “man you love to hate” figure in the British tabloid press because of his perceived posturing and arrogance and for for his singularly unconventional sense of style. In boxing circles he enjoyed even less popularity, having once referred to the sport as a ‘mug’s game’ on national television.

Now the holder of a second title, the WBO World super middleweight championship, Eubank relinquished his middleweight title and concentrated on defending his new crown at the higher weight of 12st. After the Watson tragedy Eubank never again showed any desire to knock opponents out, preferring to retain his title through points victories. He made successful defences against “Sugarboy” Malinga, the American quartet of John JarvisRon EssettTony Thornton and former World Champion Lindell Holmes, as well asJuan Carlos Giminez Ferreyra and a draw with fellow Briton Ray Close.

Nigel Benn moved up to super-middleweight and became WBC champion. The pair agreed to meet in a WBC/WBO unification rematch. In 1993 the rivals would engage in another contest named ‘Judgement Day’ and, watched reportedly by a record 1 billion viewers worldwide, fought an exciting contest to a draw. Don King had negotiated the contracts so that he would own both the winner and the loser of Eubank v Benn 2. Barry Hearn claimed that, as a draw was not written into the contract, Eubank was free to sign a new deal with him. He did.

Following the Benn fight, Eubank went on to defeat Graciano Rocchigiani of Germany, the undefeated former IBF World Super Middleweight Champion. After this victory Eubank signed an eight-fight £10-million deal with Sky Sports for contests in IrelandSouth AfricaManchesterLondon and Millstreet. Eubank made five further successful defences, beating a trio of British world title contenders in Ray CloseHenry Wharton and Sam Storey as well as unbeaten Dan Schommer and Mauricio Amaral Costa.

In March 1995, however, Eubank lost his title to Irishman Steve Collins. Eubank’s “post Watson era” unwillingness to knock out opponents was a factor in this fight: he floored Collins in the 10th round; Collins rose, but was badly dazed and seemed to be in no position to defend himself. Eubank, however, simply stood back from him and allowed him to recover.

Eubank won an eliminator for his old title against Jose Ignacio Barruetabena, as well as a win over Bruno Ruben Godoy. In a rematch with Steve Collins, Eubank went to Collins’s back yard in Cork, Ireland, and lost again by a narrow split decision. He announced his retirement from the ring in October 1995. He made a quick comeback in 1996, however, defeating Luis Dionisio Barrera and Camilo Alarcon. His final appearance in a super middleweight World Title Fight resulted in his being floored twice and losing on points to fellow Briton Joe Calzaghe, who acknowledged that the 12-round fight was the toughest in his career. Eubank was given by far the heaviest defeat of his career by Calzaghe.

Eubank then added 20 lbs in weight and challenged Britain’s Carl Thompson for the WBO World cruiserweight title. Eubank floored Thompson in the fourth round but, as in the first Steve Collins fight, refused to press home his advantage. The thrilling fight went the distance, with Thompson’s strength and durability eventually telling in the later rounds. Thompson won by unanimous decision, but the closeness of the fight was reflected in the scoring, with two of the three judges giving the fight to Thompson by a single point. A rematch was quickly arranged for three months later and they again fought for the WBO cruiserweight championship in what turned out to be Eubank’s last fight. Eubank had the better of the fight in the rematch, but the short rest between the bouts came back to haunt him as his left eye that was damaged in the first fight rapidly began to swell. The fight was stopped at the end of the ninth round, when Eubank’s left eye closed completely from swelling. At the time he was ahead on the scorecards. Eubank finished his career with a creditable record of 45 wins and 5 losses.

Career beyond boxing

Throughout his successful years and beyond, Eubank developed a reputation for eccentricity. In a poll published by BBC Homes and Antiques magazine in January 2006, Eubank was voted the second most eccentric star (after Björk).[2] Speaking with a lisp and in affected upper-class tones; dressing as a stereotypically upper-class Englishman (in jodhpursbowler hat and riding boots; sporting a monocle)and carrying a silver-tipped cane, such affectations (along with his perceived arrogance and self-glorifying antics) did little to endear him to the tabloids – he was once voted third in a Readers Digest poll of Britain’s Silliest Celebrities. However, in 1991 and 1993 he won Britain’s Best Dressed Man award, given by the Menswear Association of Great Britain. In 1993 and 1995 he won the Daily Express Best Dressed Sportsman award and in 1998 and 2001, the Gold Tie Pin Award.

His collection of vehicles included a customised Harley Davidson and a huge American Peterbilt 379 truck cab – the largest truck in Europe. At one time he owned the only Hummer in the U.K and Ireland.[3]

In the early 1990s, Eubank was caricatured as a puppet on Spitting Image. He featured on the front cover of Esquire magazine for the April 1992 edition, and did a photoshoot forEsquire for the May 1992 edition. He has featured in television advertisements (commercials) for Nescafe, the Royal MailMcDonald’s, and Jaffa Cakes and has modelled for Vivienne Westwood and Versace.

In 1991 Chris publicly launched the ‘Breast Cancer’ charity ‘Breakthrough’ on breakfast television .

He has purchased the title of the Lord of the Manor of Brighton and used the ancient right of this position to appoint a town crier in addition to the town crier employed by the local authority. In 1994 he took over a prime site in the city, which he called ‘Buckingham Place’. He knocked down the interior whilst keeping the grade II façade intact and built 69 flats for the homeless, using £1,250,000 of his own money. The building was leased to the charity Sanctuary Housing Association with the lowest rents in the country.[citation needed]

In 1996, he was the guest presenter on Top of the Pops the week Suggs from Madness was at number six with a song called Cecilia: a move apparently made to capitalise on his lisp for humorous effect. The video of a boxer with a lisp saying ‘Six, Cecilia, by Suggs’ was subsequently often shown on the comedy music quiz programme Never Mind the Buzzcocks. In 1999, he launched the Dreamcast and in the same year, he appeared in his truck in the music video for the song Turn Around by Phats & Small.

In 2001, Eubank appeared in the reality television show Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 4, where he was the first celebrity to be ‘evicted’. He also had his own show on Talk Radiocalled Eubanks People: guest included Linford ChristieJohn FashanuLennox Lewis and Naseem Hamed.

More recently, Eubank has been spending time penning a musical based on his life. The project, which carries a working title of ‘Eubox’, was initially being funded by producer (and chairman of Everton F.C.Bill Kenwright. After showing great interest in the project initially, Kenwright eventually pulled out after he received an invoice to the value of £17,500 for a giant wooden replica of the Peterbilt 379 truck which Eubank owns. Eubank insisted it was essential to the production but Kenwright maintained that a script was needed before set design was considered. Undeterred, in an interview with QVC, Eubank insisted that the production would go ahead and he hoped to be in London’s West end by the summer of 2011 and then on Broadway by the following year. As of 2010 Eubank is yet to finalise the script and he has not received interest from any West End or Broadway producers. However, the show is apparently scheduled to open on Saturday 20 November 2010 at the Brighton British Legion.[citation needed]

After the accident in 1991, Eubank and Michael Watson became friends, with Eubank accompanying Watson for the final mile of the 2003 London Marathon, which Watson — still showing physical damage from the fight and taking more than six days — completed to raise money for charity.

Bankruptcy

In November 2005, Eubank was declared bankrupt, owing £1.3 million in taxes.

Anti-war activism

On Tuesday, 14 October 2003 Eubank was intercepted by police whilst driving around Parliament SquareWestminster, in his truck, which displayed the message “TONY BLAIR! MILITARY OCCUPATION CAUSES TERRORISM”. He completed a number of circuits before he was arrested and led handcuffed into a police van.[5]

At approximately 15:40 GMT on February 22, 2007, Eubank was arrested outside Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall for a suspected breach of the peace after driving his truck through central London, emblazoned with a message condemning Tony Blair for sending Prince Harry to Iraq.[6] The banner read “BLAIR – Don’t send our young prince to your catastrophic illegal war, to make it look plausible!”

On 23 May 2007 he was charged with making an unlawful anti-war protest after parking his seven-tonne truck outside Downing Street. On 16 November he failed to turn up at court over this, an arrest warrant was issued, and he was fined.

Ambassadorship

In October 2009, Eubank was appointed as the first ambassador for gambling charity GamCare, to support and encourage responsible gambling.

Personal life

Eubank and his wife, Karron (married on 23 December 1990 in Brighton), have four children (Christopher, born on 18 September 1989, Sebastian, born on 18 July 1991, Emily, born on 19 April 1994, and Joseph, born on 23 October 1996) and have over the years starred in various television programmes. In 2001, Eubank was the subject of a Louis Therouxdocumentary entitled “When Louis Met…Chris Eubank“, in which Theroux and his camera crew accompany Eubank for a period. In 2003, they invited television cameras to follow their lives for nine months; the resulting show, At Home With The Eubanks, was broadcast on Five. Karron petitioned for divorce from Eubank in August 2005.

Eubank appears to have converted to Islam after retiring from boxing.

When I realised I had sense, I was on my mother’s knee in church, so I was brought up with God being the cornerstone of my life, and my understanding of Islam is that if you are a good Christian then you are a Muslim. This view some would not agree with, however this is my view. So long as you believe in doing good and not promoting badness then you are God’s man or woman

—Chris Eubank, 21 June 2006.