Daily News Social: Benn’s Covid battle, Haye teases longer comeback, Mayweather VIP experience remembered

In a new series, published every weekday on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.

Conor Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) has recovered from Covid-19 and is now good to go for a return outing on September 4. Benn was due to fight Adrian Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) on an Eddie Hearn-promoted Fight Camp show last month but was forced to withdraw after testing positive for the virus.

Benn returns on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s rematch against Mauricio Lara at the Headingley Rugby League Stadium in Leeds and he has told Wally Downes of The Sun that he has fully recovered from his Covid ordeal. “I think it’s been down to my mental strength,” he said.  

“I know people have all been affected by Covid differently and I mean no disrespect to anyone who has lost their life or suffered seriously with it, but I have had to jump straight into another training camp, so mental strength has had to play a massive part. The only way I could prove to myself I’m fit and healthy enough to fight so soon after the virus was to be crushing the numbers in the gym and on the track. 

“I had to jump back into hard training while people were telling me I had to be careful and cautious, so every time I trained, whether it was early-morning runs or sparring in the afternoon, I pushed myself like I never have before to prove that Covid has not affected me long-term.”

“The first test I failed was on Wednesday July 28, but I felt fine,” he added. “Then I had to take a few days off because my muscle soreness was terrible and I was tired and falling asleep on the sofa, like an old man, which I never do. I lost my sense of taste and smell, but I had no cough or headache. I am an elite athlete and this is my job, so I could not let anything get in the way of me becoming a world champion.” 

The recent phenomenon of faded former fighters coming back for exhibition bouts after a long time out shows no sign of letting up. David Haye (28-4, 26 KOs) recently admitted that his fight against his friend Joe Fournier (9-0, 9 KOs with 1 NC) stemmed from a friendly discussion over who would win a contest between the two. Fournier coughed up the money to make the fight a reality and they are set to meet on September 11 at the Staples Center, with Oscar De La Hoya meeting the UFC’s Vitor Belfort in his ‘comeback’ at the top of the bill.

Haye originally insisted that this is not a gimmick, that he is taking this fight seriously and it is a one-off deal. To the shock of many, though, Haye has gone back on his word in only a matter of days by telling the Daily Mail that he could be tempted to step into the ring again if it was against the right opponent.

“Now I have to admit that if this goes great then exceptional circumstances could trigger another five to ten percent chance of me doing something more serious,” said Haye when referring to the novelty bout against Fournier.  

“Lennox [Lewis] — I’ve always idolised him,” he said after being asked if he intends to stick around should he win this one. “In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to resist the honour of sharing a ring with this giant of the game who is not only one of the best heavyweights of all-time but in my opinion arguably the greatest British boxer ever.”

One outlet argued that an exhibition between Lewis and Haye would be bigger than a real fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. This is a laughable suggestion, especially as Lewis has swerved all talk of a comeback of any kind and, unlike most of his peers and those who followed him, he appears physically and financially content in retirement.  

Some stories can be fired out in a matter of minutes. Others take time. They have to be finessed. They have to be wined and dined before the truth comes out in all its gory glory. The Daily Star Online has exclusively revealed that not only was personal pride and two ‘0s’ on the line when Floyd Mayweather (50-0, 27 early) met Conor McGregor (0-1) in 2017, there was also a bigger prize waiting for a few lucky fans after the fight if they could afford it.

The madam of Sheri’s Ranch, a licenced brothel in Las Vegas, has broken years of silence by revealing that fans were offered a limo, fight tickets and a full brothel experience for a mere £78,000.  

“It [was] two tickets to the fight, and of course limo service, we bring them out here after the fight — then they can have some fun with any girls of their choosing here at the ranch or they can have a bunch of the girls if they wanted, it’s really up to them,” she told Ollie Carlson, adding that the price included carnal relations with as many women as the fans could handle.

“If they think they can be Superman they can sleep with them all — if the ladies are up for it and you think you can handle it then go for it. We have 25 ladies on property — that’s a lot of work for any fella. When the fight’s over people will start showing up and it turns into a party atmosphere.” 

Reports indicate that a single punter took up the other as well as accepting an offer of a post-party bone marrow transplant. 

As for the fight itself, it’s legacy lives on in the career of the Paul brothers and every single novelty or senior boxing match that most fans claim to hate, but which still manage to rack up PPV sales, views and are a good go-to if you are facing a slow news day yet have access to social media and TMZ. 

Restrictions are now starting to ease up across the country and it could mean that we are hit with a new wave of fighters who have decided to take the plunge by turning professional. The recent uncertainty surrounding live sports combined with the difficulty of making a fist of it as a professional boxer created a bit of a vacuum, but hopefully we will see some flesh blood making its way through the ranks in the coming years.

Inverness’s Calum Turnbull lost his first four amateur fights. However, he plugged away and is now on the verge of turning professional out of the Merkinch Boxing Club, according to Paul Chalk of the Aberdeen Press and Journal.

The 22-year-old will be managed by Steven McGuire. Laurie Redfern, the gym’s head coach, believes that Tumbull can kick on as a professional after learning his trade as an amateur. “He recently signed his forms with Boxing Scotland, had a medical and is set for his brain scan next,” he said.

“Hopefully, he’ll get the all-clear in around a month and I’ll be looking to get the boys who are turning pro fights around November. Calum is a great example to all boys and girls who want to take up any sport, not only boxing. He was 10 years old when he walked into our old base at the Cameron Youth Centre.

“He actually lost his first four contests at the age of maybe 11 or 12,” he added. “That would put most boys off — but not Calum. He got his head down, trained harder and worked as hard as he could. It was his goal. Boxing was always his passion. His determination to be a winner was there from the beginning. After those four losses, he stormed back with 10 wins out of 10. That was amazing, for me.” 

Campbell is currently recovering from a hand operation, but if things work out he will be one of four fighters turning professional from the same club around the same time as boxing continues to make a grassroots recovery from the recent lockdowns.