Still only 24, Conor Benn is probably the most improved boxer in the domestic game. Having turned pro as a raw novice with little amateur experience in April 2016, Benn has been reinvented as a clinical pressure fighter by astute trainer Tony Sims.
The next test of this progression will arrive on Saturday when Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) locks horns with seasoned Colombian Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) at the SSE Arena, Wembley, looking to build on a career-best display against German Sebastian Formella (W10) last time out in November.
It’s been a remarkable transformation that has seen Benn catapult up the world rankings (WBA No.11 and IBF No.14) and conjure memories of his great father Nigel in his pomp.
Unlike his celebrated dad, a two-division champion and puncher par excellence, the younger Benn would be content with one night of world title glory. The welterweight division is notoriously tough and stacked with talent, but it’s certainly possible in an era of WBA ‘Regular’ championships. Current WBA ‘Regular’ champion Jamal James would appear a practical and realistic target for Benn.
“I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time,” Benn told The Sun. “I just have to achieve the world title once, however long it takes, and I will be a very happy man.”
Benn’s tireless focus on becoming a champion has not been affected by becoming a new father on January 24 with wife Victoria. The world title dream is certainly aided by a solid night’s sleep.
“I thought the baby was going to come late but it came early. I’ve actually been training since January 1, so that’s a long camp,” said Benn.
“I managed to have three days off when the baby arrived and then I was back in the gym. I’ve managed to stay well away from the sleepless nights though. I’ve been sleeping like a trooper.
“My missus has been great with baby Eli, which has been such a blessing.”
The dream continues.
Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.