Ahead of his rematch against Liam Smith on Saturday, Eubank Jr, 33, appeared on The Overlap with Gary Neville where he discussed his upbringing under his former world champion father, one of the country’s most famous fighters.
Eubank Jr admitted he feared his father growing up but stopped short of labelling it ‘unhealthy’.
The Brighton fighter explained he was often beaten with ‘a belt, a cane, or a slap’ when he got into trouble as a youngster, adding the beatings only came when he ‘stepped out of line’ as a young ‘tearaway.’
The middleweight fighter insisted the punishments from his father were a means to show him ‘there are consequences in life’ and believes they ‘made me the man I am today’.
‘I don’t know if it would say unhealthy, he was extremely strict,’ Eubank Jr said. ‘I got away with nothing. If I messed up in school, if I didn’t do a chore, if I got into a fight with my brothers, there was physical punishment whether it was a belt, whether it was a cane, a slap.
‘Back then, in the 90s that was how you disciplined your kids. That is where my fear originated from. But again, that type of punishment, that upbringing, that made me who I am today. It prepared me for the brutality of the sport of boxing.
Asked by Neville if he would call it abuse, Eubank Jr responded: ‘Absolutely not. In my opinion… that’s a good question, because some people will hear “he got beat with a belt or a cane and that’s 100 per cent abuse”.
‘But in my opinion abuse is unwarranted. Abuse is somebody doing something for no reason, abuse is a parent coming home drunk and taking their anger out on their kids. That was never the case with me. I got punished when I stepped out of line. He was teaching me for everything you do there are consequences, good and bad.
‘When I did good things he rewarded me immensely, and when I did bad things he punished me. Life lessons, not abuse at all.
‘I was still such a bad kid. I was a tearaway, I was in a gang, I was getting into fights. At 11 years old I spent two hours breaking into a sweet shop with my mates and emptied the place.
‘I was doing that knowing if I got caught I’d be in serious s**t when I got home. I look at it as if, imagine if there were no consequences for what I did. Imagine if I had a parent who said, “come on son, have a time out”. I was already a wild man, I would have been off the rails.’
Eubank Jr also recalled incidents where after getting into trouble in school, he would attempt to protect himself from beatings by ‘padding’ himself with extra clothing.
‘I would prepare, I would go into my gym back and put layers of shorts, pants and socks, tuck them into my boxers because I knew as soon as I’m getting home I’m getting my a**e kicked. It worked for a while, I had to pretend it was hurting!’ Eubank Jr said, laughing as he explained the story.
‘I did that for a while then one time, a sock falls out and he sees it. That was a bad day. At the time it’s scary and you hate it but looking back on it, what would I have been like without that discipline.’
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