Exclusive: Harlem Eubank eyes world title under guidance of Adam Booth
Harlem Eubank has all the composite parts to go very far in the world of professional boxing.
A recognizable name aside, he’s currently under the tutelage and management of Adam Booth and sitting unbeaten at 7-0.
Perhaps more important than his record and name is the disciplined and ambitious athlete’s mindset he has developed.
As a youngster, Eubank channeled his energies into karate. He gained a black belt and won a British championship before, saying, ‘getting bored’ of it.
“I’ve always enjoyed combat as a kid. I did karate from seven until eleven, and I loved the combat side of things,” Eubank explained to World Boxing News.
“I liked the discipline and philosophy. Plus, I was a big Bruce Lee fan. I used to do that at some intensity.
“Some days, I’d go up with the instructor and do five of his sessions that he was teaching. I always loved the dojo mentality and physical training.”
Then professional football called.
“I was at the age when everyone was playing football. I started playing football myself and after a year played professionally for Brighton and Hove Albion.
“Again, I was in that full-time training, with professional etiquette and approach. I’ve played with a lot of the players who are in the first team now.”
Brighton released Eubank, and he slowly fell out of love with football.
It was a fateful trip to the gym with his father, Simon Eubank, that relit his passion for combat sports. Having had one junior bout aged 14, boxing had been ruled out while playing professional youth football.
Having bounced from one high-level sport to another, Eubank shows a raw athleticism beyond that of many pros in the early stages. He believes it can ultimately take him a long way in boxing.
“As soon as I stopped playing football, I picked boxing back up and ran with it,” said Eubank. “I picked it back up at 18 and have been all in from there.”
His time in karate and football, as well as his family’s fighting tradition, gave Harlem Eubank an ideal foundation for a boxing career. He took the sport seriously from the off, making the most of those transferable skills.
“We used to a lot of ladders and footwork. That’s one thing that does transfer into boxing. I would say my footwork and movement are the highest level part of my game.
“I think my power’s starting to develop. I’ve always had quick hands. I think I’ve got a lot of raw components. I’ve developed those skills playing other sports at high levels but developing them to suit the timing and synchronicity of boxing. I think I’ve got a long, long way to go still in terms of boxing. I think Adam would probably say my movement is my best asset too.”
The effect of the Eubank name is inescapable, Harlem admits. But his father, Simon, led a different life to that of his uncle, international boxing star Chris Eubank Senior.
Simon Eubank still blazed a trail in the sport for his son, though, in many ways.
“He was on the road fighting, so his record wasn’t necessarily a reflection of the talent,” Eubank said. “Obviously, he went the hard route and seeing that gives me a lot of motivation to do well and succeed in the sport of boxing. There’s definitely an energy there left for us from the previous generation.”
He knows too and expects that questions about his uncle and cousin won’t stop for a while yet. “It’s one of the questions that you know at some point it’s going to come up, but Chris made a huge impact in the sport, so I’d be surprised if the question didn’t come up.
“Until you make your mark, that will always be one of the biggest things to talk about in terms of boxing.
“It [the Eubank name] has both sides to it because people expect to see something straight away. At 1-0 or 2-0 they’re not looking for an inexperienced fighter they’re looking and thinking of Chris and making the comparison.
“There’s that and there’s the fact that people want to get that name on their record. Every fight you get is their best version of themselves which is a good thing for me because you always get people’s best game and it helps me improve.
“The name has loads and loads of positives and it’s just how you deal with that pressure and turn it into performances.
“I don’t want to have the name and no skills behind it. I want to get to a very high level in the sport.”
Ultimately, the 24-year-old believes that he can become a world champion if he can keep developing under Adam Booth.
“If I didn’t believe that I could be a world champion I wouldn’t be in the sport today,” he concluded.
George Storr is a contributor to World Boxing News. Follow George on Twitter @George_Storr1.