Middleweight hopeful Chris Eubank Jr. insists he can cope with the pressure of showcasing his raw talents in front of 9000 fans in Belfast, Northern Ireland, this Saturday.
It may be only his third professional fight, but the unbeaten 22-year-old from Brighton, Eng., who faces Scotland’s Paul Allison (5-0-1, 1 knockout) in a six-round contest at the Odyssey Arena, positively relishes such opportunities and cannot wait to take the next small step up the British ladder.
Fighting on a sell-out card, headlined by heavyweight contender Tyson Fury versus Martin Rogan, is what he craves. Well, what else did you expect from the son of former super middleweight titleholder Chris Eubank?
And the fact it is on UK terrestrial Channel 5 – with an audience of four million likely – makes it all the more appealing. Dealing with the limelight, stemming from dad’s memorable achievements during the early 90s, has been pretty much par for the course for as long he can remember.
“The more high octane the atmosphere, the better it is for me,” said Eubank (2-0, 1 KO). “The crowd getting into the fight, and the Irish are lively, very hardcore boxing fans who like to get involved, will only boost my morale and make me want to perform even better. It won’t intimidate me, it will encourage me.
“The exposure comes with the territory, you don’t have a choice if you’re fighting on terrestrial television. People recognising me in the street is something I have grown up with all my life. It’s not something strange that I can’t handle. I actually quite enjoy it.”
But if others are quick to hail him as British boxing’s next bright thing, Eubank Jr. is not party to such premature talk. He recognises he has done nothing yet, and is far happier busying himself, learning his trade with non-stop sparring sessions, which he absolutely swears by.
“People ask me when are you going to be world champion, or a British titleholder, but I am not looking to be fast-tracked or to get ahead of myself,” he said on Box Nation TV. “I’ve had only 26 amateur fights and two pro fights. I am still basically a novice in the sport, even though I have a lot of experience training in places likes the United States.
“Sparring is the number one training for boxing. You can cut everything else out and still make it in some way or shape if you spar. Running, hitting the bags, pad work, that’s all secondary. For me, sparring tops anything, learning to deal with styles, southpaws, orthodox, strong guys, short guys, tall guys. That’s what I believe makes you a better fighter. That’s why I go round as many gyms as possible, to gain that experience.”