In a recent interview conducted by Channel 4’s Matt Frei surrounding Chris Eubank Jr’s fight with Nick Blackwell, things took a bit of a sour turn…
If you’re reading ahead without watching the video above, stop right now and watch it. Watch it again if you’ve seen it already, it really does get more embarrassing and cringeworthy for reporter Matt Frei with every viewing.
On the 26th March 2016, Chris Eubank Jr and Nick Blackwell fought for the British Middleweight title at Wembley Arena. It was a fight that Eubank dominated from start to finish, with the British champion Blackwell struggling to keep Eubank under control which eventually ended in a 10th round TKO. Not long after the fight ended, Blackwell collapsed in the ring and was rushed to hospital with bleeding to the brain, he was put under a medically induced coma and still remains in it today, although there are various reports that he is expected to wake up in the coming days.
Chris Eubank Sr was seen asking the referee to stop the fight on several occasions before he famously got into the ring at the end of the 8th round and instructed his son to target Blackwell’s body rather than his head. It is a move that has divided opinion amongst boxing fans, with some people believing he only did this as an alternative way to win rather than an attempt to stop the punishment to Blackwell’s head.
Since the fight, Channel 4 managed to grab the now infamous interview with the Eubank’s with interviewer Matt Frei asking some borderline silly questions. He starts off by attempting to find out why Eubank Sr decided to give the instructions to target the body, a simple enough start to the interview and a question a lot of people wanted to know the answer too anyway. He then asked if chivalry is alive in boxing but only to a certain point, a question which pushed Eubank Sr to tell Frei “Your line of questioning isn’t conducive to a good interview”. This was a very fair point brought up by the former world champion as it is a question people can already have an educated guess as to what the answer is and could be viewed as looking for a reaction from the father and son duo. This however wasn’t the end of the bad questioning, things only got worse. The interview went pear shaped with 2 defining questions.
The first, which was aimed at Eubank Sr, was on the subject of his fight with Michael Watson who fell during the bout and hit the back of his head on the ropes. He was in a coma for 40 days and had 6 operations to remove a blood clot. Matt Frei asked “What do you regret most about that fight 25 years ago?” Eubank Sr responded by saying he regrets it happening but its not what the current interview is about.
The final question, this one aimed at Eubank Jr, was the final nail in the coffin for the interview. Frei asked “If you had the choice of having Nick Blackwell in perfect health or holding onto your belt, which would it be?” Obviously, this question was not really thought about much by Matt Frei, probably one he just scribbled down on his way to the interview. Was he asking it to wind up the Eubank’s? To get a reaction? Or does he just not have a good knowledge of boxing or sport in general? Well thats up for us to decide. Anyway, Eubank Jr responded as many probably predicted saying “Thats not a fair question, this is my career, my life, I’m in there to do a job. I don’t wish harm on anybody outside the ring”.
This interview was crying out for someone with an understanding of boxing, someone who could really connect with the Eubank’s during the interview, but instead we got Matt Frei. He had a huge opportunity, an interview with BOTH Eubanks. All it would have taken is questions that are actually investigative journalism.