Friday, July 10, 2009

Chris Eubank

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



[edit] Early life

Christopher Livingstone Eubanks (later opting to delete the 's' from his surname) was born on 8 August, 1966, in Dulwich, London and spent his early days in Jamaica (from two months old to six years old). On his return, he lived in Stoke Newington, Dalston, Hackney and then Peckham. He grew up in poverty.

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 trying to protect other children from bullies[citation needed]. 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.

His mother had left for New York when he was eight years old. At the age of 16, his father sent him to New York to live with his mother in the South Bronx.

[edit] Boxing career

Eubank made a fresh start in the South Bronx, quitting alcohol and marijuana, attending church and studying at Morris High School (he graduated in the summer of 1986). In his spare time he trained at the Jerome Boxing Club on Westchester Avenue (his older brothers, Peter and Simon, who were twins, were both boxers back in Peckham). Eubank became obsessed with trying to improve his skills at the boxing gym and trained seven days a week, becoming an amateur boxer and winning the 1984 New York Spanish Golden Gloves. He then reached the semi-finals of the 1985 New York Daily News Golden Gloves at Madison Square Garden, which is where his reputation for controversy began as he hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after biting his opponent's shoulder.

He writes in his autobiography that his drive to succeed in boxing came through his drive to become an accepted individual.

He made his professional debut at the Atlantis Hotel against Timmy Brown, shortly after his 19th birthday. It was an eye-catching display, the young man vaulting the top rope and showing agility, skill and power. He won over four rounds on points, and four more four-rounders followed (all in Atlantic City) with four more points wins. He finally returned to the UK in January 1988, making Brighton (where his brothers Peter and Simon had settled) his adopted home. He became obsessed with becoming a world champion. In October 1988, with ten professional victories and no defeats, Eubank first started calling out Nigel Benn, and they would become arch-rivals.

In 1990 he beat highly rated Brazilian Reginaldo Dos Santos in 20 seconds to win an inter-continental title and a world title shot, then won the WBO world middleweight title against Nigel Benn in a classic encounter that was later released on DVD. Eubank would defend the title successfully against Dan Sherry, Gary Stretch and finally in an excellent match with Michael Watson. This concluded Eubank's career as a middleweight, with a 28-0 record.

A 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".

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 to which he was more suited. Eubank never again showed any desire to knock opponents out, preferring to retain his title through points victories.

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 by millions, fought thrillingly to a draw.

Don King 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.

Eubank, despite losing his 'killer instinct' after the Watson tragedy, continued to box and claim scalps. He beat former IBF world super-middleweight and future WBC world light-heavyweight champion Graciano Rocchigiani in Berlin. He also defeated former IBF world super-middleweight king Lindell Holmes, two-time WBC world super-middleweight champion "Sugarboy" Malinga, European champion Ray Close and American champion Ron Esset.

After the Benn rematch and the Rocchigiani victory, Eubank signed an eight-fight £10-million deal with Sky Sports for contests in Ireland, South Africa, Manchester, London and Millstreet. Events planned in Paris, Rome and the Middle East were cancelled when Eubank was defeated and lost his title and unbeaten record to Steve Collins in March 1995. In a rematch, Eubank knocked Collins down but lost again in a contentious split decision. His final appearance in a title fight resulted in a loss on points to Joe Calzaghe who acknowledged that the 12-round fight was one of the toughest in his career. After two failures in 'come-back' bouts, Eubank quit the ring with a creditable record of 45 wins and 5 losses.

[edit] Career outside of boxing

Away from boxing, Eubank comes across as an eccentric. He speaks with a lisp and in upper-class tones, dresses as a stereotypically upper-class Englishman (in jodhpurs, bowler hat and riding boots, and famously sports a monocle), drives unusual vehicles (including a customised Harley Davidson and a huge American Peterbilt 379 truck cab which is the largest truck in Europe) and carries a cane. At one time he owned the only Hummer in the British Isles.[1]

In 1991 and 1993 he won the Britain's Best Dressed Man award, given by the Menswear Association of Great Britain. In 1998 and 2001 he won the Gold Tie Pin Award. In 1993 and 1995 he won the Daily Express Best Dressed Sportsman award. Also in 1993 he was awarded 'Best Capped Head' as well as 'Best Kept Hair'.

In 1991 Chris was the first celebrity to go on TV to talk about the 'Breast Cancer' charity, 'Breakthrough' when he launched the charity on GMTV.

In the early 1990s, Eubank was caricatured as a puppet on Spitting Image, at the time seen as something of a badge of honour among celebrities.

In 1994 he took over a prime site in the Brighton area, which he called 'Buckingham Place'. He knocked down the building keeping the grade II façade intact and building 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. The Prince of Wales's architect Dominic Richards was impressed with the project and they have discussed carrying out a similar one in London.

He featured on the front cover of Esquire magazine, April 1992 edition, and did a photoshoot for Esquire for the May 1992 edition. According to Rosie Boycott, sales of Esquire went up by 76% when Eubank was on the front cover.

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; this was a move apparently made to capitalise on his minor speech impediment for humorous effect. The video of a boxer with a lisp saying 'Six, Cecilia, by Suggs' was shown on programmes such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks for a long time afterwards.

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 Theroux documentary 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. In 2001, Eubank appeared in the reality television show Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 4, where he was the first celebrity to be 'evicted'.

Eubank also had his own radio show on Talk Radio called Eubanks People, where he invited sports celebrities including Linford Christie, John Fashanu, Lennox Lewis and Naseem Hamed into the studio as guests.

He has featured in television advertisements (commercials) for Nescafe, the Royal Mail, McDonald's, and Jaffa Cakes and has modelled for Vivienne Westwood and Versace.

In 1999, he launched the Sega Dreamcast and in the same year, he appeared in his truck in the music video for the song Turn Around by Phats & Small. Also in 1999, Eubank was one of a small number of celebrities invited to the launch party of the Gumball 3000, as a friend of the founder Maximillion Cooper.

Karron petitioned for divorce from Eubank in August 2005.

In a poll published by BBC Homes and Antiques magazine in January 2006, Eubank was voted the second most eccentric star (after Björk).[2] In the same year he was voted third in a Readers Digest poll of Britain’s Silliest Celebrities.

He has purchased the title of the Lord of the Manor of Brighton. He has used the ancient right of this position to appoint a town crier, Margaret Pracey, who operates in addition to a paid town crier employed by the local authority.

His hobbies include speaking, teaching, philosophy, reading quotations, fashion, dancing, poetry, driving around in his truck, and fighting (mentally and physically) legally.

Eubank claimed in 2007 that his total income in the previous 17 years was £35,000,000 gross, including all sponsorships and endorsements.

[edit] Bankruptcy

In November 2005, Eubank was declared bankrupt, owing £1.3 million in taxes. [1]

[edit] Anti-war activism

On Tuesday, 14 October 2003 Eubank was intercepted by police whilst driving around Parliament Square, Westminster, 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. [3]

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.[4]. 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[5].

[edit] Religious beliefs

Eubank converted to Islam as an Adult.

"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.

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