Revealed: Why Chris Eubank gave away his sons to a virtual stranger He has a look of his pugilist father and packs a mean punch, too. At the Top Rank boxing gym, a few yards off the brightly lit Las Vegas Strip, Chris Eubank junior dances and dives before jabbing his sparring partner under the jaw, nearly sending him to the floor. The ringside onlookers roar their approval at the young Englishman's prowess. The 18-year-old eldest son of monocled and lisping former boxing star Chris Eubank is training to become a professional fighter. It is a far cry from the streets of the Sussex seaside town of Hove where he grew up with his two brothers and sister, and where his fists nearly got him into trouble. In his early teens, while still a pupil at the local public school, Brighton College, Chris Junior started mixing with the wrong crowd. He admits it himself. At 15, and already a handsome six-footer, he was threatened by a knife-wielding gang of youths in an underground car park. They shouted abuse about his famous father, which made him snap. The brawl that followed was recorded on a mobile phone and the footage is now posted on Chris junior's My Space website.The clip is also popular on YouTube. It shows young Eubank in a grey hoodie punching the lights out of another boy who hides his head under a car to escape the relentless beating. Today, however, Eubank junior has left his past behind to try to achieve success in a sport that brought his father fame and, for a time, a multi-million pound fortune. As his trainer at the Las Vegas gym, former middleweight world champion Mike McCullum, says of his protege: 'Everything has worked out perfectly. In a few years, England is going to have another world champ named Eubank. I go in the ring with him and he's skilful, but he can also bang.' At first, this appears a heartwarming story of a boy making good. Yet, there are curiousities in the tale of how the son of a highly eccentric former world champion boxer came to change his life. This week, it emerged that the lad and his 16-year-old brother, Sebastian - also in the U.S. and hoping to become an American Football professional - have been given away by Chris Eubank and his former wife, Karron. Bizarrely, the children have been formally adopted by a divorced woman living in Las Vegas. It came to light when the boys' new mother, calling herself Irene Hutton, decided to tell her side of the story. 'It sounds incredible and it is,' proclaimed the auburn-haired 51-year-old, with a slight East European accent. At her pink brick house in a middle-class area of Las Vegas, she said: 'It has been almost two years since Chris Eubank gave me the children. Both boys are fantastic. 'Their father was adamant that the entire adoption was secret, and initially I agreed. But, I want the world to know what he is like. Chris Eubank has only been out here once to see them, as far as I am aware.' So what is the truth of the double adoption? Of all the oddities of Chris Eubank's life (and there are many, including his penchant for strutting in jodhpurs, spending thousands on his haircuts, driving the biggest HGV truck in Britain and possessing a weird vocabulary which, he says, he has learned word-by-word parrot fashion), this may be the oddest. The adoption plan began one night in January 2006, when the former boxer, recently divorced and bankrupted (because he owed the taxman £1.3 million), was alone in Paris. He struck up a conversation with a woman holidaymaker in a hotel. This was Irene Hutton. According to her, the chance meeting went like this. 'I was sitting in the hotel's lounge when this man strode up to me and said: "Hello, I'm Christopher Livingstone Eubank." I had no idea who he was but we sat chatting until the early hours. 'He said he had just gone through a very bitter divorce and that he had money problems. I, too, had just got divorced. We swapped phone numbers and that was the last I thought I would ever hear from him.' Yet it was just the beginning. Eubank, homeless after the marriage split, was moving between friends' houses all over the world. He began phoning Irene regularly. Meanwhile, back at home, his former wife, Karron, was struggling to cope with their two teenage boys who were beginning to run wild, despite their obvious talent as sportsmen. According to a friend: 'Both boys had got in with a bad crowd on the south coast and spent a lot of time on the streets. Karron was finding it hard to control them, especially without their father in evidence after the divorce.' The Eubank family appeared in disarray. Before the 2005 divorce, Eubank had signed over the couple's unashamedly vulgar Hove mansion to Karron, claiming he had done so 'out of gratitude' to the mother of his children. However, some, suggest that the timely property transfer, and even the divorce, had more to do with Eubank being chased by nine separate county courts for payment of outstanding bills, and the tax debts. Karron was later able to sell the mansion for £3 million, and move with the four children (the couple also have a boy, Joe aged 11, and Emily, 14) to a smaller house, 100 yards along the same seafront road in Hove. It was in July 2006, a year after the divorce and during a transatlantic call to Irene, that the boxer asked if he could bring his son, Sebastian, to Las Vegas for a holiday. In the event, he took both elder sons for a two-week visit which was a crossroads in their lives. 'The boys loved staying out here and it was clear they were not happy at home and did not see a future in Britain,' Irene explained this week. 'Then, after they flew home, I got a call from Chris and the subject of me raising his boys came up. He was really keen on the idea.' Within a few weeks, on September 22, 2006, the boxer and his two boys turned up at Irene's door. 'He wanted them to grow up in America and asked me to adopt them,' she explained. The Eubank boys had come to stay. Within six weeks, Irene became their court-appointed legal guardian. The adoption was formalised by a judge in Nevada's family court division last July. The arrangement means the boys can live in America without a visa or any of the lengthy formalities that face a foreigner settling in the U.S. In a letter to the adoption judge, Karron hints at why she let her children go. 'My former husband is without a home. I don't know if he works, but he travels a great deal visiting friends and acquaintances. He phones the children occasionally. The calls are from various cities: New York, Las Vegas, Paris, London, Moscow and Dubai. 'He does not fulfil his obligations as a father and does not help me in any way.' In other Nevada court papers filed at the same time, Sebastian explains to the judge: 'If I was still back living with my Mum in England, I would be spending too much time on the streets with the wrong company and doing the wrong things.' His elder brother added, poignantly: 'My mother was having a hard time looking after all of her four children alone.' But was it Chris Eubank's own teenage experiences that really provoked the strange adoption? The 41-year-old boxer had a difficult childhood. Born in South London, his mother left home for the U.S. when he was six. He was brought up by his father, expelled from numerous schools for fighting, finally ending up in care. In a desperate attempt to get him back on the rails, his father sent 16-year-old Eubank to America for a better life. The teenager lived with his mother in one of the roughest areas of New York, the South Bronx. Instead of brawling, he began boxing, training all day at a local gym. By 1984, he had won the New York Golden Gloves award, the city's premier amateur fight prize. It was the fresh start he needed. Within a few years, Chris Eubank had pranced, preened and boxed to the world middleweight title, beating fellow Briton, Nigel Benn. He then moved back to England, met Karron, and bought the mock Tudor house in Hove where Chris junior was born in 1989. A year later, the couple began what was always an unconventional marriage. 'I don't particularly like him,' said glamorous Karron of her husband well before the word divorce was mentioned. 'He's a posing boxer who plays to the gallery. He's convinced he's normal, but he's not. I mean, the way he dresses, the cane, the monocle, the huge truck. When I first met him, I thought, "What a strange man."' In 1991, Eubank beat Michael Watson to become super middleweight champion of the world. But it was a brutal bout, leaving Watson brain damaged. Eubank continued fighting, winning many of his contests, but the Watson tragedy made him lose his killer instinct in the ring. As a result, he turned his attention to becoming a celebrity, even allowing his family to become part of a fly-on-the-wall TV documentary called At Home With The Eubanks. It showed the swaggering boxer buying a £1,600 pair of jodhpurs from his Savile Row tailors and driving his huge truck from Hove to Manchester for his fortnightly haircut. The fuel for the round trip was £1,200. As one friend says: 'Karron wanted a normal home life for the children. Instead, television cameras were being poked in their faces. 'Chris loved the attention, but it meant the boys were the butt of jokes at school. They defended themselves and it was often with their fists.' So what of the woman who has adopted the two Eubank boys? By all accounts, she is a caring person who shares her mobile phone with Chris junior, because - unusually for a teenager - he cannot afford one of his own. She drives him to training sessions at boxing clubs around Las Vegas as he hasn't yet got a licence. When the boys come home from Spring Valley High School, she is there to give them tea. Said an observer at one Las Vegas gym this week: 'When Irene turns up with Chris junior, most people call her "Mum". They think that she really is his biological parent. She does not correct them and I have never heard the boy do so either. They seem to get on like a house on fire and she is completely at ease with him.' But is she a perfect parent? Certainly, she has had a chequered past which rivals the boxing star's own. According to court papers lodged in America and seen by the Mail, she has had several run-ins with the U.S. authorities. In 2002, a woman of her name and living at her address, owed $139,612 in unpaid tax. However, this week she denied having any problems, financial or otherwise, in the past. 'It must be someone else,' she said. 'If anything had happened, I would not be able to look after these boys.' Whatever the full truth, her personal life has also had its ups and downs. She has been married twice (her first husband, Laidislav Hakszer, was 30 years her senior and died soon after they divorced) and has two daughters (Elaina, now 20, and Katherine, 17) with her second husband, car auction dealer David Balsom. According to Nevada court papers, Irene's second marriage was deeply acrimonious. Five years ago, she successfully gained an order to protect herself and the girls against domestic violence, later changing her name from Balsom to Hutton. In a statement to the judge, she claimed: 'My husband was always an angry man. In September 2001, he ended our marriage, but we were still living in the same house. He was out dating, but I was expected to cook for him, do his laundry, make love to him only when he wanted me. 'Since our elder daughter was born, I was never allowed to sleep in the same bed with my husband. I have been verbally abused for years. My husband has taken all of our liquid assets. 'Every time we talk, he uses vulgar language, encourages me to kill myself, tells me to do him a favour and end my life, calls me names using four-letter words, tells me that I'm ugly, fat and old and he has no use for me any more.' She claimed that her husband had forced her to go to his bank and cosign a guarantee to raise money for a new car auction venture. 'I know it had to be for several hundred thousand dollars. I was told if I didn't do it, I wouldn't get money for food and we could starve.' Irene explained: 'I'm asking the court to help me before my children's lives, and my life, get completely ruined.' This week, speaking at his Las Vegas home, her former husband, David, said: 'If I never saw her again I would be happy. If she has adopted these two boys, it's up to her, as long as she doesn't use my name. I have no idea who Chris Eubank is and, frankly, I don't care either.' He refused to comment on their marriage. So exactly what do Karron and Chris Eubank think of this aspect of Irene's life? Perhaps they are unaware? Karron this week was reluctant to discuss the adoption. However, she has told friends that her sons are faring far better in America than they would have done in England. As for Eubank, now a consultant for white-collar boxing fights in the Middle East, he was uncharacteristically silent. But the words of Mike McCullum, the owner of Top Rank in Las Vegas where Eubank junior trains, explain a lot about his decision to give his boys away. He said his old friend Eubank arrived in LA unannounced in 2006. 'Chris asked me to train his son, who was only 17 and with him that day. 'I was extremely flattered he chose me out of all the other trainers in the world. I also realised I was taking on a huge responsibility - looking after a boy so many thousands of miles from home.' Revealingly, the trainer says that Eubank junior, who recently qualified to enter a national U.S. Golden Gloves tournament although he has only boxed for two years, is no chip off the old block. 'He is nothing like his dad. He is extremely polite and quiet.' For the young boxer with the famous name, growing up in a foreign country with a new mother, that is certainly a compliment - and one that is unlikely ever to have been paid to his father.