Conor Benn revealed to Sky Sports how a gym “war” with Golden Boy’s hot prospect Jonathan Navarro helped to ease the mental train from his last fight.
The 21-year-old flew out to California for sparring sessions ahead of his return to the ring against Chris Truman on the Amir Khan-Phil Lo Greco bill in Liverpool this Saturday.
Benn questioned himself after he overcame two knockdowns to defeat Cedrick Peynaud on points over six chaotic rounds last December, but was instilled with fresh belief following a spar with highly-rated US talent Jonathan Navarro.
“What inspires me, is me going to the other side of the world and dealing with the Americans, who are signed to Golden Boy [Promotions] for example,” Benn said.
“When you spar in the UK, you spar with everyone here, you don’t really know where you’re at, but when you take it to America, and your sparring is on point, and you’re dealing with them - that gives me confidence.
”I sparred Jonathan Navarro. The Brit went abroad and went to war with him. I fought him on the inside and I thought he would be better on the inside. But I seemed to get the better of him in the spar on the inside.
“It was great, they loved my style over there. I speak fluent Spanish, so I was speaking to them out there as well.”
During a trip to Robert Garcia’s gym, Benn also studied four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia as he sparred with Scotland’s Ricky Burns, a three-weight champion himself.
A rematch with Peynaud remains a possibility, although Benn’s frustration has eased after he preserved his unbeaten record by flooring the Frenchman twice at York Hall.
“At first I was struggling with that. I was thinking ‘you know what, I need to redeem myself.’ I was losing sleep over it, thinking I wasn’t Conor Benn on the night. Do you know what? Now it’s completely irrelevant.
”It was a learning fight. It was a fight I probably learned more from then all my other fights. A blessing in disguise.”