Two-weight world champion Christopher Livingstone Eubank (45-5-2, 23KOs) appeared on Piers Morgan's Life Stories on ITV on Thursday, February 18, to discuss the infamous Michael Watson fight, his eccentricity and showmanship, his brothers and their behaviour towards him, and winning against Nigel Benn, as well as his divorce and recent marriage.
In the infamous fight Watson suffered a near-fatal injury under the punishment he recieved from Eubank in their WBO super-middleweight championship clash that took place on September 21, 1991 in White Hart Lane, London. Watson and Eubank had previously fought just three months prior in the conclusion to Eubank's middleweight career, which ended in a narrow mixed decision win to the Brighton boxer defending his WBO 160lbs belt. Both boxers wanted a strong won to conclude the rivalry.
Piers Morgan: An incredibly difficult moment for you, for Michael, to the sport, for everyone involved. What are your memories of that night?
Chris Eubank: You know, I don't, I don't really know whether I can even still make sense of what happened. You know, him having to go through what he's gone through and to still be here and it's you know, I can't you know, I can't tell you how sorry… It's the only thing I regret in my career and really....
Michael Watson [from the audience] Let's move on Chris, it’s all right, it's OK bruv. Let's move on in life. Peace and love. I love you Chris. It's all in the past, let's move on in life Chris. We're here together. Let's live n love. I love you Chris. Let's move on. We are born warriors, we are real. God bless you Chris.
Piers Morgan I've not seen this side of you. And it's very powerful and it's very real. And it shows just how much it affected you and how much you still care about what happened.
Piers Morgan [addressing Michael Watson in the audience] Michael. There'll be people watching this who will be amazed that you're here. What do you feel about Chris now that we are where we are so much further down the line?
Michael Watson This could have happened to anyone. It was a sheer accident.
Piers Morgan Did you always feel as forgiving towards him?
Michael Watson I've been brought up… I'm not a hater, I'm a lover. I'm loving soul.
Piers Morgan And why was it important for you to be here today?
Michael Watson Because I want to be a part of the story. Simple as.
Chris Eubank Well, Michael, you are the story, you are the story.
Eubank was behind on all scorecards after 10 rounds and was knocked down 18 seconds from the end of the round. He rose from the canvas to unleash a desperate, devastating uppercut to Watson's jaw right at the end of the round, knocking Watson's head and neck backwards into the ring ropes. In the 12th round, with Watson still visibly shaken, the fight was stopped under a flurry of punches from Eubank.
Minutes after the brutal bout, Watson collapsed in his corner of the ring, but there was no ambulance or paramedic at the event. A long delay in medical personnel arriving at the scene saw Watson remaining on the canvas for eight minutes before doctors - still in their dinner jackets - came to his aid. A total of 28 minutes elapsed before Watson received treatment in a hospital neurosurgical unit.
Watson spent 40 days in a coma and had six brain surgeries to remove a blood clot. During the first eight months he was unable to hear, speak or walk.
Piers Morgan It did change boxing. There was a huge debate into safety, new regulations were brought in, neurological hospital had to be within 10 minutes of the arena. Ambulance and paramedics on site, increased stewarding.
Chris Eubank Yeah, many, many fighters have survived and are able bodied because of what happened that night to Michael.
Piers Morgan Because I actually think that even seeing Michael here and hearing him and hearing you talk, it’s not a mug's game. It's a pursuit of extraordinary people who do extraordinary things. And, yes, it's a battle. And yes, it's very hard and it can end in a serious way. But it is something that is worthy of pride as well.
Chris Eubank You are a standard bearer. As soon as you start fighting in that ring or on that mat, you know, you've got the world looking at you because the first instinct of a man is to protect. That is to fight. Now, can you be a gentleman while you're doing it? Can you do it truly? Can you go beyond? You can't win a fight, so do you quit because you can't win or do you go on taking that beating? And if you can go on taking that beating, what you're doing for the public, you are you are lifting their spirits. And there's no better vocation, lifting the spirits of others. You know, whatever your predicament, whatever situation you're in, you can rise. And that's what we do.
Piers Morgan If I ask the wrong question. Am I liable to get a right hook?
Chris Eubank Well, that would only disrespect everything that I have actually been able to achieve.
Piers Morgan Because I've known him a long time and in that time we've always been, whenever I've met you, unfailingly courteous, polite, respectful. And yet what I've seen you in a ring, very different character. What's the biggest misunderstanding about you, do you think?
Chris Eubank That I'm arrogant, I'm not arrogant. In the ring, I am. But not outside the ring, outside the ring, I'm gentle.
Piers Morgan It's a fine line between being a showman and being arrogant, isn't it? Either in the ring or out of the ring.
Chris Eubank Inwardly, there is a huge, vast difference between a show off and a showman. And I'm a showman, so I'm doing it to entertain. I'm doing it to say to people, look, if I can do this, then so can you.
Piers Morgan I mean, you're very flamboyant. Always have been. You're very eloquent. Obviously, your voice is very distinctive. Where does that come from? Because I was told you listen to BBC One, the World Service in America.
Chris Eubank Upstairs Downstairs. You remember that?
Piers Morgan Yes. You watched that?
Chris Eubank Yeah. Yeah.
Piers Morgan And you would listen to the way they spoke?
Chris Eubank Yes.
Piers Morgan And would you be focussing on the accents above or below stairs?
Chris Eubank I lived with what was downstairs. Yeah, I was heading upstairs. So the dress sense, you know. Mannerisms, everything. Manners.
The Eubank family have a multitude of professional boxers and champions, such as Chris's son Junior and his nephew Harlem, who's father Simon - brother to Chris Sr - was also a pro. Their intricate family tree is explained in detail HERE
Piers Morgan You were living with your father and your brothers.
Chris Eubank Those three brothers of mine, whatever have been done to me throughout my life, nothing was harder than actually what those three did to me. My brother Peter, he never, he's never hit me once in his life. But he didn't talk to me.
Piers Morgan For how long?
Piers Morgan He was always like this as a child with me. So it was him ignoring me and me wanting... When someone ignores you want to you want to get their attention. So that was probably the most powerful. More so than my brother David, who, you know, I was always fighting with. So more than the pain of those fights, him not talking to me. But that was good. It was great for me.
Piers Morgan You talk to him now?
Chris Eubank Oh, yeah.
Piers Morgan You’re friends?
Chris Eubank Friends? He's my brother. You see, there's a distinction.
The WBC recently listed Benn-Eubank 2, in October 1993, in their top 10 world super-middleweight title fights in history, alongside other greats such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Andre Ward. Their epic clash ended in a split decision draw with Eubank putting his WBO belt on the line and Benn his WBC green and gold belt.
But they first met in November 1990, with underdog Eubank, who was undefeated in 24 fights, winning via ninth-round knockout to win the WBO world middleweight title against the fearsome fighter, who was 27-1 at the time.
Piers Morgan Let's come back to the night that you became World Champion beating Nigel Benn. You spent seven years preparing for that World Title fight. Extraordinary dedication and sacrifice. I mean, talk me through what you had to put yourself through in that time. What does it take to become World Champion?
Chris Eubank You get up and you run every morning and you train every day. And if you're going to be clever about it, train on Christmas Day and your birthdays, because that's when the other guys are taking a break. You have to get ahead of them intellectually. You have to do things that they won't do. If you can think, if you can use your brains, you can work out how to do anything.
Piers Morgan We've got a picture of you in 1990 after you defeated Nigel Benn. When you when you look at that picture, what were you actually thinking in that moment when you actually achieved the great dream of becoming World Champion?
Chris Eubank That my brothers would finally respect me and treat me like you treat each other.
Piers Morgan Were they all watching?
Chris Eubank Oh, yeah, of course. Yeah.
Piers Morgan And what do they say to you afterwards?
Chris Eubank You're still a tosspot!
Piers Morgan How did you feel when Karron left you?
Chris Eubank I didn't believe it. When she said she wanted a divorce. I said, you can't be serious. She said, Yeah. I said, OK. But I didn't believe it. And I think it was about a year and a half later we were divorced.
Piers Morgan Were you a good husband?
Chris Eubank I was a great husband.
Piers Morgan I mean, various women went to the papers, the stories of affairs with you. Were they true?
Chris Eubank I always came home to my wife.
Piers Morgan So they were true, but you went home?
Chris Eubank I'm not going to….
Piers Morgan It's not for me to put words in your mouth.
Chris Eubank I'm not going to talk of my past regrets.
Piers Morgan I suppose the only relevant question is whether the other women were the reason why Karron in the end had enough? Do you think that was the case?
Chris Eubank You'd have to ask her.
Piers Morgan What do you think?
Chris Eubank I don't know.
Piers Morgan You must know.
Chris Eubank I don't know.
Piers Morgan You don't know why she divorced you?
Chris Eubank No, as I said to you, I couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it when she said.
Piers Morgan You've got married again to a lady in Louisiana, you haven't really talked much about that.
Chris Eubank No, she's not a public figure. She doesn't want to be a public figure.
Piers Morgan But you're happy?
Chris Eubank Oh, extremely happy.
Piers Morgan Where do you live together?
Chris Eubank Louisiana.
Piers Morgan And do you think, is this for life this one?
Chris Eubank Absolutely, yes.
Piers Morgan Did you meet in Louisiana?
Chris Eubank No.
Piers Morgan Where did you meet?
Chris Eubank At the Dorchester
Piers Morgan Really?
Chris Eubank Yes.
Piers Morgan Did she know who you were?
Chris Eubank No, I gave her a compliment and my line went on for about three minutes.
Piers Morgan How did it start?
Chris Eubank I was giving credit to the power of women and the female of the species. I got her to go on to a phone and get up a poem written by Kipling in 1911 called The Female of the Species. And I said, read that. And as she started to read, I said. When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride, he shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside. But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail. For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Piers Morgan She listened to all this and still married you?
Chris Eubank She didn't just listen. She read it as I was reciting it.
Piers Morgan So you're reciting the Kipling poem...
Chris Eubank She's reading it.
Piers Morgan Yeah. And it worked. Somehow you pulled it off.
Chris Eubank I pulled it off.