​Making an impression with Chris Eubank (23/03/17)

​Making an impression with Chris Eubank

Britain's Best Dressed Man and 19-time world boxing champion tells all

to Matt Teeman, Managing Director, Primesight

At Primesight we're on a mission to make an impression in everything we do. Whether that's with our estate – as the UK's #1 billboard owner – or in the way we look after the wellbeing of our team, this philosophy is key to our continued growth.

If you're looking to make an impression, then surely there's no one better placed to inspire and inform than Chris Eubank – a man who has made an impression throughout his career, both in and out of the ring.

Introducing him as 'a ferocious world boxing champion during an era when boxing was at his best' I knew Eubank – who is now promoting his son Junior's boxing career – would deliver. He certainly made an impression on the audience – quoting poetry, dancing and shadow boxing, all while imparting words of wisdom. Here's what stood out for me.

On consideration and his early life

What made an impression on Chris Eubank at a young age?

His mother, Rachel Scollins, came top of the list as Chris recalled himself 'animated and ebullient' on the phone to her after an amateur win in New York. Instead of enthusing with him, Rachel met his account with the question 'what happened to the other boy?' She taught Chris 'it's not just about me. You have to be considerate. Consideration makes you strong. If you can consider what the other person is going through, that will make you strong.'

On persona

Chris Eubank had his own personal brand before the phrase had even been coined. What lies behind the legendary Chris Eubank persona and what can we learn from him?

Describing it as his own mix of Michael York’s D'Artagnan – 'I wanted to be this man who projected chivalry and bravery' – Charles Bronson in Once Upon a Time in the West – 'I took on part of his character' – Bugs Bunny’s humour and True Grit's Rooster Cockburn, Chris Eubank said 'I plagiarised, I copied, I impersonated. I made all of these things my own. Anything that resonated with my spirit or inspired my imagination. Yes, I am a pretender. You are all pretenders too. Nobody is an original.'

On risk

'The people who make a difference, the people who can change the game are the people who are willing to take a risk even though they're afraid. Risks are key. People who don't take risks sit in the background. What I know about risk is this: you never fail. You always win. Even if you don't get the result, you took part. Even if you don’t win, you're showing courage and that in itself is inspirational. That's why you never fail.'

On winning

'Do one thing with integrity. Winning revolves around focus, and better than focus: application and persistence; and better than those three: obsession. Obsession works. I've mastered through obsession, the art and craft of boxing.'

On manners

'I was in the church with my mother. It teaches you humility – bow your head to something – it teaches you effectively how to respect your elders; manners. If you've got manners you've got a chance of actually making it in your field. People are going to give you a pass. They will not block you if you're well-mannered.'

On humility

Again and again Chris Eubank returned to humility as a key part of his success. For Chris, being humble is key to making an impression. The difference between being a show-off and a showman? 'A show-off does it for ego, a showman does it for the entertainment of the public. You can get away with being a showman. You’ll never get away with being a show-off.'

Talking about his son Chris made it clear that practicing humility takes work 'Junior thought it was about winning the belt. He understands it's about winning the hearts of the people now he has the belt. The way you win the hearts of the people is through manners and humility.'

On gentleness and meeting Nelson Mandela

'I met Mandela in 1996. I was shaking. When he came in the room he said "it's an honour to meet you." How could he say that to a man like me? I put my life on the line in the ring; he did 27 years in prison. Being gentle, that's how you win people.'

On bullies

'Nigel Benn was a bully. A bully is someone who pushes smaller people around. Smaller intellectually or physically. With a bully all you have to do is stay on them and never give up. You'll break them. And I broke Nigel Benn after 9 rounds.'

On embracing adversity

When reading Chris' autobiography there were many quotes that stood out to me, but one I really wanted Chris to elaborate on for the audience was:

People who are always bemoaning their lot have the mentality of those who are losing. The mentality of those who are winning is to adapt and accept.

The successful in life know to accept and adapt to their situation. As Chris puts it: 'whatever you don't embrace ends up slapping you in the face.'

When thinking about Nigel Benn, one of Chris’ toughest opponents (about whom he said there had never been anyone who had hit him so hard) how did Chris resist that much pain and still end up winning the bout?

In boxing 'you're supposed to hurt me. That's why fighters today aren’t the cut that we were in the nineties. They complain of injuries. You are supposed to be injured! You’re hitting things and people are hitting you. So embrace it!'

'The reason I became a nineteen-time world champion is because I understood from a very young age that life wasn’t fair. It wasn't 50-50. In society, the community at large, there were double and triple standards.

'For me to win I've got to do three times better than my counterpart. Whatever he did I had to do three times more. That's why I won. With most of the community in the inner city, "if it's not 50-50 I'm not taking part." That's why so many people fail because they expect it to be fair. I accepted that it wasn’t fair and that I had to be three-four times better than that counterpart. And that’s why I was able to win.'

If you missed the original interview, you can find a recording in full here on our website, thanks to Advertising Week Europe.

Matt Teeman, Managing Director, Primesight