‘I’m now Conor Benn’

Conor Benn
Steve Welsh/Matchroom
Conor Benn on following his father, British legend Nigel Benn, and turning pro

What’s it like training with Tony Sims?

I’m enjoying this. I’m loving the half five sprints. I’m loving it and he’s got a team of wolves around him. Young wolves: Ohara Davies, Ted Cheeseman, Martin Ward, John Ryder, Ricky Burns. That speaks for itself.

I’m progressing every session… Each sparring session I’m executing something different. The reason me and Ohara have wars all the time is he flipping punches hard and I’m hitting back twice as hard. Always flipping hurts me he does.

What’s sparring with Cheeseman like?

The way I look at him, he’s the perfect boxer. He punches so neat, he does this bolo shot, it caught me right down in my sternum. It hurt a lot. Thank God it was the end of the round. Kevin Mitchell, Ricky Burns, I learn from all of them.

They threw me in the deep end. Back then, I said, ‘I can’t do this. How do you lot spar eight rounds, four minutes, with 30 seconds rest? I can’t do that.’ Now I’m doing it and I’m doing it easy. Thank you, Tony. He’s done so much in and out the ring.

I feel so strong and I’m only 19. I feel I’ve got my man strength. That’s how feel. We’ll all find out April 9. You’ve got to remember I’ve only had 20 [amateur] fights. I don’t even know if I’m any good. I’m in the same position as everyone else. It’s all a massive risk.

How would you describe your style?

I know I’m a fighter but I’d like to be a concussive fighter… I don’t want to hurt my opponent but it’s the business. I want to be bring that entertainment back.

You can’t get better than that. You watch the old fights back in the day, no comparison. Those fights were just all wars. Knockout artists and that’s really what I want.

Did you always know you were going to be a boxer?

Not at all. It was really until I came here [the UK]. That was it. As soon as I came here I thought that is it. I didn’t know I’d be where I am now.

As amateur who the kind of people you were boxing?

I was boxing number ones in Australia. People who went to the nationals, Worlds and I beat them. In my eighth fight I beat the number one.

What have you made of Chris Eubank Jnr and Senior?

Like father like son, isn’t it? Chris Eubank Jnr is the spitting image of his dad. I’m the spitting image of my dad. It’s how you’re raised. I think Eubank is a good performer, very talented, world class.

My dad’s saying, ‘I’m going to take a step back, I’m going to let you do what you’ve got to do. This is your time.’

Leaving my family was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, if that’s what gets me up at 5.30 in the morning to do my sprints so be it.

Is your father a big name in Australia, was there pressure on you as an amateur?

No, not at all. That was a good way of doing it. 22 amateur fights, no pressure whatsoever.

So the pressure’s on now?

At the O2. All this. I’ve got my own banner!

It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is it. I’m now Conor Benn. Everything I do is going to be looked at, everything I say, at the age of 19. Again I bring that age in because that age is the important thing. I’m going to loads of stupid things because I’m only young. That’s a warning! But I’ve got the right people around me and that’s what matters most.

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