Boxing’s Best Rivalries: Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank

Dave Kuzio:

Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank had one of the most intense rivalries throughout the nineties - it was pure hatred at times. Despite their second fight being nearly 27 years ago, there have been rumours that a third fight could happen in the future. Let's take a look at this famous rivalry.

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Let’s get this straight. Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank simply just didn’t like each other – it’s as simple as that. Before their first fight in November 1990, Eubank stated he didn’t hate Benn while signing the contract, while Benn clearly said: “Personally, I do hate him.” The pair refused to shake hands at that contract signing.

Benn was seen as a working class hero and a man of the people, while Eubank came across as a bit of an arrogant snob and that antagonised a lot of boxing fans. Over the years, many fans started to like Eubank for his egotistical ways that they once loathed him for.

We take a look back at the two fights that people are still talking about today, some fans wish there was still form of rivalry and hatred in today’s boxing.

Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank – Eubank takes Benn’s title

Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS Sport)

Nigel Benn put his WBO Middleweight Championship on the line against Chris Eubank at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Saturday, November 18 1990.

This was Benn’s second title defence and it was clear in the build-up that these two were never going to be friends even after the final bell. Benn couldn’t stand all Eubank’s posturing and strutting around. He genuinely wanted to take his head off and knock him out.

Mind games were aplenty ahead of this one and it was alleged that Benn’s camp sabotaged Eubank’s walk-on music as he approached the ring. This didn’t phase Eubank at all, he took it in his stride and was focused on become the new champion.

Benn had a terrible poker face. From the first bell you could see the hatred in his eyes as he chased after the challenger looking for a quick knockout. Benn prowled around the ring stalking Eubank, but both fighters stood their ground in the opening few rounds.

Benn launched a savage upper cut on Eubank in the fourth round that cause Eubank to but his lip. These two continued to throw punches with intent, it clearly looked they wanted to inflict as much damage on each other as possible. Benn’s eye was swollen shut midway through the fifth round as Eubank started to pick off the champion.

Benn refused to give in and he hit Eubank with a barrage of blows that left the challenger trapped in the corner. Benn then landed an overhand right to Eubank and he went down to the canvas, he got up immediately insisting it was a slip. He still had to take a standing eight count.

This was a war and no man wanted to lose. The fight came to an end in the ninth when Eubank unleased a left right combination and a left hook that had Benn reeling, Eubank then went for the kill and sent the champion into the corner with a straight right. Referee Richard Steele had seen enough and called the fight off with Eubank winning by technical knockout and becoming the new WBO Middleweight Champion.

Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank – Controversy overshadows second fight

Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn. (Photo by Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/PA Images)

It would be three years later before Eubank and Benn shared a ring togther. This time they had moved up to super middleweight with Benn putting his WBC Super Middleweight title on the line against Eubank’s WBO Super Middleweight belt at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground.

This fight was not as brutal as their first meeting, but the dislike between the two was still there. From the early goings, you could sense this fight was going to go the distance as both men were eager not to make a mistake that would give the other an advantage.

Benn was knocked through the ropes during this fight, but he wasn’t injured. Both fighters traded blows but neither man could find the knockout punch. The 12th and final round was one of the best rounds of boxing ever seen at that time. Both Benn and Eubank had been told by their corners that they needed a knockout to win, so they both went out swinging. The two warriors remained on their feet as the final bell tolled.

The judges scored the bout 115-113 Eubank, 114-113 Benn and 114-114. Meaning the contest ended in a draw with Eubank retaining his WBO Super Middleweight belt and Benn keeping hold of WBC Super Middleweight title.

Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank – Third Fight

Everyone in the world of boxing wanted to see these two go at it again in a third fight, but despite reports of over a £6 million fight at Wembley Stadium this fight never took place.

Over the years there have been talk of the two getting in the ring following the emergence of their sons – Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn. Nigel Benn was even scheduled to return to the ring at the age of 55 to take on former WBC Super Middleweight champion Sakio Bika, but Benn pulled out due to a shoulder injury.

In 2015, when Eubank was in the Jungle for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, he revealed that he wasn’t a competitive man and he can walk away from a lot of situations, but that isn’t the case when it comes to Benn. He admitted he is only competitive with the Dark Destroyer.

This got everyone excited about the possibility of a third fight and in 2018 there was genuine talk of it finally happening. Both fighters hinted an announcement was imminent. But at the time of writing, we are still no closer to this third fight.

 

 

 

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