Harlem is the latest brick in the house of Eubank – a house of glory and grief

The Eubank fighting family tree has three brothers, three sons and they have been in 170 professional fights during the last 40 years.

There was a time when Simon and Peter, who are twins, and their younger brother, Chris, were all known as ‘Eubanks’. It was Chris who dropped the S and it was Chris who refused to join the hard, hard circuit. Simon and Peter lost a combined total of 41 fights; Chris was beaten just five times in 52.

Chris, the dad as he is often known, is the father of Chris Jr and the late Sebastian. He put Brighton and Hove on the boxing map, but he only fought there five times in total. He is also the advisor to his nephew, Harlem, whose father Simon died in September. There is enough glory and grief in the house of Eubank. And it is no longer a happy soap opera with comical turns by Chris in jodhpurs.

The three fighting sons were all born in the Brighton area on the south coast; the twins were born in Manchester and Chris Sr was born near Peckham in south London. They all helped make Brighton their fighting town. Chris Sr had a short period in New York, before returning to fight in Brighton. They have all trained in a gym below sea level in Hove. It is a boxing shrine.

Sebastian was unbeaten in two as a professional when he died in Dubai in 2021; it was announced as a heart attack, but his father is still trying to find out exactly what happened. Chris has spoken eloquently about his attempts at dealing with the immense grief of losing his son; the death of his brother, Simon, has added to his suffering. Working with Harlem has clearly helped him get back on track; he remains an outspoken critic of the proposed fight between his son, Chris, and Conor Benn – the son of his own fiercest rival, Nigel.

Chris Eubank Sr fought 52 times, was British boxing’s biggest attraction in the Nineties and is still a strong fixture on the celebrity circuit; he has been in some dark places since the death of his youngest son. On Friday, he will be with Harlem when a Eubank fights once again in Brighton; Harlem meets Germany’s Timo Schwarzkopf at the Brighton Centre. It is not a walkover.

Harlem during his victory over Miguel Antin in March (Getty Images)

Harlem during his victory over Miguel Antin in March (Getty Images)

Eubank Sr defended his WBO middleweight title against Dan Sherry in Brighton in 1991 and only Harlem has fought in the seaside town since then; Harlem won his debut at the Metropole Hotel in 2017.

Harlem’s father, Simon, had the hardest career of the lot. He fought as Simon Eubanks, and he was thrown in with world champions and British champions at short notice and with no chance of winning. He finished his career with seven wins from 27 fights. He was fearless and never went to lose; he never fought like a loser.

Peter, who fought as Peter Eubanks, beat a young Barry McGuigan one night in Brighton in 1981 at the Corn Exchange. It was a big shock, but a fair result; Peter could fight. McGuigan won the rematch in Belfast. Peter lost 21 of his 35 fights but he was a real handful, not an easy journeyman to beat. The numbers are misleading for the twins, and handled differently and with care, they could have been very good fighters.

It will obviously be an emotional return for the Eubank fighting family at the Brighton Centre on Friday night. Harlem is unbeaten in 18 fights and will need to find some calm on that long walk to the ring to overcome Schwarzkopf. He will be walking through a tunnel of family members, family memories and local fans. He will also be walking in the footsteps of his father, uncles and cousins. It is a very serious homecoming.

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