Given his famous father’s association with Chris Eubank, it is not surprising Stevie Collins Jr has grown accustomed to fielding questions on the young man from Brighton with the same name.
Only now, the circumstances have changed.
“I’m used to it now,” Collins says. “I always know there’s a Eubank question on the way.
“But I’m not one of those people who calls him out all the time. People love to ask me about him and I need to answer, but I certainly don’t need to fight him.
“I would quite happily go about my career in my own way and never talk about him again. But, put it this way, if I got an offer to face him, I would take it in a second.”
When Collins, the 26-year-old son of the two-weight world champion, first turned pro in 2013, the idea of him fighting Eubank Jr was far-fetched to say the least. Around 40lbs of weight separated the pair, whose fathers engaged in two timeless wars in 1995, which looked likely to prevent their two eldest sons ever crossing paths in the ring.
But, as Collins puts it, the weight is flying off the former rugby player and on Saturday night at Dublin’s National Stadium he will compete at the 12st 7lb light-heavyweight limit for the first time in his career.
“I’ve done cruiserweight up until now but this Saturday I’m fighting for my first title – the Celtic Nations – at light-heavy,” he adds.
“I’m not even trying that hard, still eating three meals a day and I’m only a few pounds over ahead of Saturday. I could do super-middleweight if I really tried.”
Eubank, meanwhile, campaigned in that very weight class for the first time when he beat Australian Renold Quinlan at the London Olympia earlier this month.
“I’m not the biggest guy height-wise but I’m thickset,” adds undefeated Collins, who will move his record to 10 wins and one draw with victory at the weekend.
“I have put down heavyweights and cruisers in the gym with sparring gloves on. I don’t want to sound arrogant but if I went to super-middle I’d be putting people to sleep.”
A September shoulder injury, however, has meant the only person he has been tucking into bed over the past five months is his baby daughter, Zoe.
In just three and a half years as a professional, Collins has had four different surgeries: one on each shoulder, one on a torn bicep and another on a knuckle.
The latest injury had halted a promising 2016 run of four fights in six months, all won, with three inside the distance. Now, with all of those taking place on the east coast of America, he is looking forward to returning to Ireland.
“I only turned pro in 2013 and I feel like I know the physio table better than I do the ring,” he says, only half-joking. My new year’s resolution was to spend more time looking after myself. I can overtrain and always just work through injuries and pain. Now I’ve learned how to train smart and be proactive.
“Having played rugby you get used to being injured all year round. You are held together with tape but you just get through it, that was always my mindset.
“I didn’t really know what it was like not to be hurt or sore. I do now.” He also knows the feeling of having to provide for someone since the birth of his daughter in 2014. And, although he has been changed by the arrival, Collins insists it does not affect his performance in the ring.
“Having a little girl does soften you, big time,” he says. “It is all cliches but your priorities change and that is all you care about.
“But I have a split personality. My personal life and boxing life is like Jekyll and Hyde.
“When I walk in that gym I am no longer a dad, I haven’t got a job, a daughter, a girlfriend. I become a killer. Nothing else matters.
“When I am in that gym, I am somebody else entirely.”
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