History | Aug 18 2018

On This Day: Nigel Benn sensationally blunts ‘The Blade’ Iran Barkley

When "The Dark Destroyer" Nigel Benn blitzed Iran Barkley in Las Vegas, writes James Slater
Nigel Benn
Nigel-Benn  |  Action Images

TWENTY-eight years ago today (August 18, 1990), Britain’s Nigel Benn scored one of his most thrillingly quick wins at world level. Benn, making the first defence of his newly won WBO middleweight title, met the seasoned, tough and dangerous Iran Barkley. What followed in Las Vegas was a three-minute fight crammed with drama and plenty of controversy.

Having won the belt with an impressive eight round stoppage of the always-tough Doug DeWitt, “The Dark Destroyer“  signed up to put it on the line against “The Blade.” This was no easy first defense for Benn, but going into the bout Barkley had a serious problem. He had needed surgery on his left eye after his fight with Michael Nunn (a losing effort for the IBF middleweight title) a full year before. So not only would he be ring rusty against Benn, the former conqueror of the great Thomas Hearns would also be participating in his first fight since having undergone treatment for a detached retina. A tune-up bout would certainly have been a good idea for the 30-year-old.

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