Conor Benn has revealed the depths of his despair during the doping scandal that has engulfed his boxing career.
The son of British boxing legend, Nigel Benn, was days away from a mega fight with Chris Eubank Jr when news broke that a banned substance had been found in his system.
Five months later, the undefeated welterweight has been cleared by the WBC of ‘intentional ingestion’, but still has a ways to go in the eyes of the British Boxing Board of Control as well as many fans.
Benn has been strong in his stance since the news first broke, claiming he’s a clean athlete and believes the substance was never in his system in the first place, hinting at negligence or contamination.
In a sit-down interview with Piers Morgan set to air on Monday March 6, Benn has opened up on his emotional turmoil during the career-defining moment.
“It’s hurt me. I didn’t think I was going to make it through this period.”
“It’s hard because I feel like I was on death row for something I hadn’t even done.”
“If I had done something wrong, you know, I am human. I would raise my hands to it, ‘I made a mistake’. Whatever it is, my personal life, I raise my hands. Never this.”
He went on to say that he was suicidal in his darkest moments.
“I felt like seven years of hard work and sacrifice and leaving my family, and the image I maintained, was just ruined at someone else’s incompetence. It’s been hard for the family.”
“I was taking it day by day. I didn’t think I would see another day.”
“Yeah, I would say so [to being suicidal.] And it upsets me now because I don’t know how I got so bad. I got in a really bad way.”
Benn is set to return to the ring this summer, with a potential fight with eight-divison world champion, Manny Pacquiao, said to be in the works.
How he performs inside the ropes is one thing, but the fighter seems just as concerned with his verdict in the court of public opinion.
Despite advice from his promoter, Eddie Hearn, to move on, it seems Benn will continue in his attempts to change the minds of his doubters – something he calls the hardest fight he’s even been involved in.