Nigel Benn has revealed the emotional toll his son’s doping drama had on him as the pair continue to plead innocence.
Benn – who retired from professional boxing in 1996 after 42 wins, fives losses and one draw – was preparing to be in his son’s corner for a fight with Chris Eubank Jr before news broke last October of a failed doping test for banned substance, Clomiphene.
The British boxing legend has stuck by his son since, but told Piers Morgan in an exclusive interview what that had meant for his wellbeing.
“I don’t really drink, but I was drinking a half bottle of red wine every night. On medication. We were both in a dark, dark place. To me, this is a witch hunt.”
“To me it looks like this is a witch-hunt. We’re going back to the 1800s. ‘She is a witch, she is a witch, burn her’ and everyone’s ‘yeah burn her.’ Hold on a minute, that is my son.”
“If I ever thought my son was guilty of anything, I’d say ‘son, love you, but you know what, you got to deal with this on your own.’ I’d hang him out to dry. But I was actually in this training camp with him.”
Benn went onto mention how family heartbreak compounded their grief.
“I will be honest with you, I was with Conor for 5 months. I was not here [in Australia], I was in England while he was going through this period, I was there with him.
“I would stay and talk and then my mum died so I had so much pressure on me, I was just a mess inside. I was trying to be strong but it was like he was trying to deal with his issue and I was trying to deal with mine and we struggled.
“We both got through it together.”
Conor has now been cleared by the WBC – one of four major sanctioning bodies in the sport – and will be returned to their rankings. Although he is still questioning the details of the verdict, it’s a small step forward for the undefeated welterweight.
The hurdles in front of him are now in the form of a British Boxing Board of Control investigation – although he appears adamant that he won’t cooperate with this – and changing the public opinion in regards to his failed tests.