Booth joins the Eubank Jr revolution
Few impartial judges dispute the talent of Chris Eubank Jr, but there has long been a sense that something was missing. An elite coach to coax the true potential from the 26-year-old middleweight and fulfill his father’s bold predictions. The final piece in the puzzle may just have fallen into place with the addition of Adam Booth, one of boxing’s most astute trainers, to the Eubank team.
“I am a coach first and foremost and if I think there are some technical and strategic things that I can add to Junior as a fighter, with all the ingredients he’s already got, then it should work for a more complete fighter,” Booth told BM today at Trinity House, London, where Eubank Jr’s new promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing was announced.
“I believe I am good at my job, I am confident at what I do. I’ve seen enough of Junior. He’s been in my gym since 2010 sparring and I believe I can help add some things to his game that are going to make him a more complete fighter.
“English [Chris Eubank Sr’s new name of choice] and I have been talking about it for the last 18 months. It’s not been just a case of ‘Do you want to do this?’ ‘Oh yes.’ ‘Okay.’ Because I don’t enter into working relationships lightly,” continued Booth. “I only do things if I believe they are going to be for the long-term and that I am going to get satisfaction in the job that I do. It took some time, but eventually we sat down enough times to work out the details.”
Booth has already revolutionised the career of Andy Lee and guided him to the WBO middleweight title, which leads to the intriguing possibility of the Irishman sparring with Eubank Jr, the WBA’s ‘interim’ title-holder after his pulsating 12th round stoppage of Dmitry Chudinov in March.
“Because you’ve got two champions there you’ve always got to be careful,” Booth told BM. “You’ve got two stags. If it makes sense for them to work together, and there is a mutual benefit, then they will. Otherwise, I will train them separately and give them the time that they deserve in the gym.”
The trainer believes Eubank Jr (19-1, 14 KOs) can emulate his father and win world titles at middleweight and super-middleweight and far more. “When he looks in the mirror in the morning he is looking at the man who can limit him. That’s it,” said Booth. “His limitations are only what he sets himself. He has all the ingredients to be a significant world champion. Not just a world champion.”
Veteran trainer Ronnie Davies, a stalwart in the corner of Chris Eubank Sr during his glory years, remains on Eubank Jr’s team and was delighted with the new addition. “He’s lovely Boothy. I get on great with him,” Davies told BM. “There’s a lot of things I can’t do now. I can’t do pad work. I can’t do ground work because of my back and my hips and my hands are all damaged through years of training so I can’t do that but I am still very much involved with the training side. We’re going to work together great as team. There’s no one saying I am in charge of this or that. I’m still there. There’s going to be three of us there [in the corner]. I don’t know how it’s going to work. I don’t really care as long as the kid wins the fight.
“No-one has seen the best of Chris Jr yet,” added Davies. “I see glimpses in the gym sometimes. But there’s more to come and I think, ‘My God, he’s going to be better than the old man’ and that’s a statement.”
For Chris Eubank Sr, aka ‘English’, his son’s new deal with Matchroom (initially for three-fights) brings back many fond memories of his association with the promotional outfit in the 1990s.
“It reminds me of that Shirley Bassey record,” Eubank Sr told BM. “History Repeating. I am going to start playing that. Putting aside my behaviour and my desire to maybe drive a particular vehicle or impart a certain philosophy, Junior’s ability and pure boxing is so much more than mine, in my view. And my job is to help get that out so the public can see it. It’s magnificent to see. Adam will polish him. I like what he’s doing because Junior is raw and Adam is adding an ingredient which will round him off [as a fighter].”
With Eubank Sr, Booth and Davies in the fold that corner might get a little crowded, but all three appeared positive about how that element of the new coaching regime will evolve.
“I will be head cornerman and advising him is Ronnie and Adam,” Eubank Sr told BM whereas Booth remained open-minded. “Every fight is different,” he said. “I guess as a team we’ll take a view and see what works best for that fight.”
Booth will start another training camp with WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee for his on-off fight with No.1 contender Billy Joe Saunders next week.
“Andy’s had some time off because of the delay. The Saunders fight will be in December,” said Booth. “He flies back today and we still start working again next week. It’s got to happen now just because it’s been so badly jinxed.”
Meanwhile, the trainer was philosophical about his former fighter George Groves’ defeat to Badou Jack and how the Londoner’s career has evolved since their split before the first Carl Froch fight.
“It’s something I’ve thought about more intensely than anything else for a certain period of time, but I don’t think about it anymore,” said Booth. “It’s part of my past and I’ve got one eye on the present and one eye on the future. If a [Eubank Jr-Groves] fight ever happened it would just be the fighter that I am working with, fighting someone else. That’s all it would be. A fight.”
Photo: Paul Currie/Matchroom Sport.