Second generation fighter Conor Benn, son of Nigel, has often been one of the more candid interviews you’ll find in boxing, especially for a 23-year-old prospect.
The playbook for most fighters his age who have been pushed on televised cards has been to talk up their greatness and plans for future superstardom.
Benn (16-0, 11 KO), however, has always known that he remains in the learning stages of his career. He has openly admitted questioning his career in boxing on a couple of occasions. And he’s got no grand vision of remaining unbeaten forever, especially as he intends to fight the best competition he can.
“I’ll have many hard fights in my career, I have that style and that vulnerability,” Benn told Sky Sports. “There will be ups and downs, hard fights that should be easy, and easy fights that should be hard. Will I take a few losses? I’d be silly to think not.
“It’s a roller coaster journey and that’s where I show that I’m a fighter. If I fall I will bounce back. I have always felt the pressure. Having the 0 and being undefeated brings pressure. My dad said that having the 0 means nothing.”
Benn was first seriously checked in 2017 against Cedrick Peynaud, an awkward French fighter who put Conor down twice in the first round. Benn returned the favor in the fifth and sixth frames, and won a referee’s score of 57-54 over six rounds. The next year, he rematched Peynaud in a 10-round bout, looking to shake the demons a bit, and did so, boxing much better in a decision win. He’s won three more bouts since then, last fighting in Oct. 2019 in a victory over Steve Jamoye on the Prograis-Taylor undercard.
Benn has had something of a media rivalry with fellow British prospect Josh Kelly, the 26-year-old former Olympian. Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KO) is set to face European champion David Avanesyan next, though no date has been re-set for that bout. They were meant to fight on Mar. 28. Kelly vs Benn — or Benn vs Kelly, however it might shake out — figures to be a spirited domestic matchup at some point, whether Kelly wins or loses against Avanesyan.
But for now the two will continue on their separate paths.