The Destroyer: Is Conor Benn Slowly Building His Own Legacy?

Tom Dunstan
Tom Dunstan
Tom Dunstan
Contributor

2017 will certainly be remembered as the year that the next crop of British boxing talent began their individual journeys to potential superstardom. Despite a young roster that boasts five former Team GB Olympians, it is one second-generation star that is stealing the headlines.

After taking eight months out of the ring towards the end of 2016, Conor Benn has returned in sensational form, undefeated in his first nine professional fights, the 21-year-old welterweight is yet to be taken past the third round this year.

The son of British boxing icon and two-weight world champion Nigel Benn, Conor is looking to cement his own legacy and move out from his father’s enormous shadow. Opting to take no more than an occasional advisory role, Nigel is watching his son’s development from the other side of the world. Still residing in Sydney, Australia, Benn the senior has left his son to write his own legacy and after a string of eye-catching performances, British boxing fans are beginning to wonder if Conor could become the greatest Benn to have graced a boxing ring.

Making his professional debut in April 2016, the young novice showed a similar attacking style and concussive punching power that his father made synonymous with the Benn name over two decades before. Within his first six months among the paid ranks, the welterweight prodigy had already raced off to a record of 6-0, convincingly dispatching of the club level opponents put in front of him.

Following another decisive knockout victory in December, Benn had to show his mental toughness, facing eight months sidelined with a jaw injury, some young fighters can be disheartened due to a lack of progression. However, Benn was patient and listened to the advice from his trainer Tony Sims, the man who also coaches former three-weight world champion Ricky Burns, the pair spent their time on the sidelines honing his blossoming skills.

In July, it almost looked like the 2.0 version of ‘The Destroyer’ was still demonstrating his bold attacking style. Benn had polished the fundamentals and despite still only being 21, Conor looks like a fighter who is ready to step up to the next level.

Coming off the back of a string of stellar performances, Benn’s profile is beginning to skyrocket domestically. British fight fans have also had their wish to see Benn fighting on a grander stage granted, earlier this month promoter Eddie Hearn announced that his star prospect will be the very first British fighter to appear on Matchroom Boxing’s inaugural U.S.A show. Benn will be fighting on the undercard of Danny Jacobs vs Luis Arias on November 11th.

“It’s a massive chance for me to make a big impact in front of a new audience – and I am going to take it. I’ll fight anyone that my trainer Tony Sims and promoter Eddie Hearn decide on. I’m only 21 and I plan on making this a long journey, so I need experiences like fighting in New York.” – Conor Benn

His American debut should be seen as a testament to the potential and ability that the second-generation star is already showing. In only his 10th professional contest, Benn will be entertaining the thousands at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island where he will also be following in the footsteps of Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Joe Fraizer, in appearing at the historic venue.

But for Benn, he appears to be dealing with the pressure in a similar fashion to a veteran of the game, seemingly unfazed by the attention he is receiving. He radiates confidence and feels that he is ready to announce himself to the American market.

Admittedly, we have only seen a glimpse of his potential, but, Benn is a fighter who has the world at his feet. Glittering hand speed, KO power and an abundance of natural talent, could Conor go on to surpass his father’s legacy?

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