Conor Benn, the son of former two weight division world champion Nigel Benn, is set to make his debut this coming April 9th on the undercard of Matchroom Boxing's O2 Arena event headlined by the IBF World Heavyweight title fight between Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua. The opponent is yet to be named.
Conor, who is 19 years old, has been training and preparing to make his debut for some time. Benn told reporter Isaac Robinson in February of this year “The amateur game is not my game. I want to be putting those 8 ounce gloves on and clobbering people. That is what I want, I just love fighting. If I fight like my dad then it´s something you can´t imitate. You punch me then you´re getting punched back twice as hard.”
Benn had only 22 amateur fights, but he made news earlier this year when he signed with promoter Eddie Hearn. Hearn knows he has a potential box office attraction if the second generation fighter can approach his father's achievements. Nigel Benn was known as “The Dark Destroyer” and his feud with Chris Eubank is often credited with leading a revival in British boxing during the 1990's.
Despite his father's status as a British fighting legend, Conor Benn is training in London and looking forward to fighting on the British scene. Father Nigel has long since retired to a tranquil life in Australia. He lends his son his full support, saying Conor is his “own man”. The contrast between Benn's approach with Conor and the relationship between his rival Eubank and his son Chris Eubank Jr is stark and riveting. Twenty odd years later, the two remain opposites.
Benn has been preparing with well-respected trainer Tony Simms, who recently guided Ricky Burns to a world title and runs a busy gym in Essex.
But when the time came for Conor to turn professional, daddy tells the story about how “he had to find out.” Conor is a 140 lb'er and he had a sparring session with father, now a Cruiserweight, and the elder Benn had every intention of knocking his son out. It didn't happen. It was then both Benns knew that Conor had it in him.
Hearn, a second generation promoter in his own right, saw his father promote the rivalry between Eubank and Benn, and he knows what he potentially has in the younger Benn. Hearn, who quickly became one of the most influential promoters in the world, is showcasing Benn on the Martin-Anthony card which may very well be Hearn's biggest fight card of the year.
Conor Benn knows he will always be compared to his father, and he lets that drive him to achieve more than the elder Benn. Will he? Conor Benn starts his journey April 9th.