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Non-smiling assassin – Irish sparring partner backs “cold’ Eubank Jr to stop Groves

Some say Chris Eubank Snr was as good an actor as he was a fighter.

There is no doubting the Brighton competitor’s talent, desire and application. The fighter who came unstuck against one Steve Collins twice, reigned as a World champion for five years, was involved in some of the 90s most memorable fights, and is regarded as one of the greatest British super middleweight of all time.

However, while his ring success as so much to do with ability his financial success has a lot to do with his ‘persona’. The flashy Simply The Best ring walks, the rope jump, the tendency to disrespect the sport, the flash suits, the eloquent yet arrogant interviews, the monocle and more certainly made him stand out.

Eubank quickly became Britain’s most famous pugilist and divisive star.

It was one of boxing’s best marketing campaigns, but some suggest it was just that, a very smart act and the former fighter is very different out of the media glare.

Eubank is back prancing around centre stage now, but in the corner of his fighting son, who takes on George Groves in a massive super middleweight World Boxing Super Series clash tonight.

Like his father, Junior divides opinion and there are plenty who suggest he too is an actor posing as a boxer. Accused of being ‘insta-famous’ the rising star has yet to secure the respect of the wider boxing public, despite the fact a lot give him a good chance against a reigning World champion that dropped the steeled chin Carl Froch.

The Brighton puncher is accused of turning it on for the cameras, which he has no problem turning on during sparring, leaving a lot to question his real credentials.

However, an Irish fighter who has spent time in camp Eubank of late claims what you see is what you get.

Elite Senior title hopeful Tony Browne spent a number of days sparring the World title hopeful and although his National Elite preparations didn’t allow for him to be a part of the camp in its entirety he did manage to get a feel for Eubank Jr.

During that period the Dubliner didn’t see anything to suggest Eubank Jr is a spotlight performer. Browne explains the British fighter is cold, determined, and focused fighter who is slow to smile.

“Eubank doesn’t really say much at all and he certainly doesn’t socialise with his sparring partners. He’s a very cold and intense individual, and I suppose in many ways that’s what has gotten him so far but I don’t imagine he is particularly fan friendly,” Browne told Irish-Boxing.com.

“It was funny actually, last time we sparred we had a really intense session and just at the end as he was taking his hand wraps off my coach Steven [O’Rourke] said ‘come on Chris, you can give us a smile now’ and for a split second he let out a smirk, and the rest of us started laughing but other than that there were no smiles, he’s a very focused man.”

Due to his desire to be crowned light heavyweight champion Browne was more of a sporadic visitor to Brighton than camp constant, but he seems to have taken confidence from his time shared in the ring with a fighter whose sole reverse came against Billy Joe Saunders.

“The first day I only did a few rounds. Eubanks team we’re really happy with the spar and so I sparred him consecutively for three days and each day the rounds increased and I have been back since,” he continued.

“The sparring went really well. It’s intense and you have to bring your A game but I was never out of my depth and seemed to have made a good impression with him. The ring is tiny and he always has a bit of a posse with him recording bits of the spar and looking after him.”

“I was asked to join his camp as a sparring partner but unfortunately the timing was not right with the upcoming elites. I made a couple of trips over and learned a lot about the pro game and working the long distance championship rounds,” he added before explaining how the sparring came about.

“My coach Steven O’Rourke is involved with the pros so he was asked to gather a few of the lads to bring over on a sparring trip back in January. The lads from Assassin Boxing were great and really looked after us.”

Browne, who revealed he wasn’t asked to mimic the Shane McGuigan trained Groves, may have provided some personal insight Eubank and Jr, but most will want to know how his experience in the ring with Super Series semi-finalists has shaped his view on how the fight will go.

The Dub can see a late Eubank stoppage.

“I’ve never shared a ring with Groves but I doubt it very much he will have anything like the stamina or work rate Eubank will bring to the ring. It’s a close one but I fancy a late stoppage late on for Jr. I don’t think Groves will be able to keep him at bay for the 12 rounds and once he’s inside that’s when he is dangerous.”



Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years