17 Dec Ilford’s Conor Benn is on the road to glory
Essex has a long history of producing some of the best fighters to ever grace British boxing. The sport of professional boxing has deep roots in the county, and for the first time in years, followers have reason to be excited about the future. In Conor Benn, Essex has a homegrown talent that is taking the world by storm as he climbs the rankings towards a shot at a major title.
Some of the most famous boxing gyms in the United Kingdom are now based in Essex. The headquarters of Matchroom Boxing is based in the area. During lockdown, Eddie Hearn made full use of the sprawling grounds of his estate to stage cards packed with some of the biggest names, fighting desperately to get their careers moving back in the right direction following covid.
One of the names heavily promoted during those fight camps in Brentwood was Benn. Some of the largest online sports betting apps are already offering odds on the fighter nicknamed “Destroyer”, joining his father and becoming a champion of the world before the end of 2022. The unbeaten welterweight remains very much a work in progress at this stage, but there’s no doubt he’s heading in the right direction and his weekend knockout win over American Chris Algieri proves it.
Destroyer lands another KO
Benn was in action over ten rounds at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday. He stretched his unbeaten record to 20 wins from as many contests, with 13 of those victories coming inside the distance. The 5ft 8inch orthodox boxer was paired with an experienced opponent in Algieri, but the Englishman made a mockery of what had been billed as the toughest test of his career to date. That may have been true, certainly on paper, with Algieri being a respected name at welterweight, but it wasn’t obvious in the result.
The match-up may have been scheduled for ten rounds, but Benn didn’t need them, and he got the job done without the help of the scoring judges sitting at ringside. Benn knocked his American rival down in the second round, and that set the tone for the contest. Algieri got back to his feet and survived the onslaught that came his way throughout the remainder of round two, but he wasn’t able to survive for long.
In round four, Conor kept up the pressure and, sensing his man was in danger. He moved in to finish the contest. Benn delivered a perfectly timed right hand to the chin of Chris in round four and the away fighter crumbled. Referee Bob Williams, who has a career spent officiating some of the top fights in the UK, waved the contest off, saving the beaten man from any further punishment. Benn had not only won the fight, but he had also sent a message of intent to everyone watching in the United Kingdom and the United States, including fans, promoters and the top names at welterweight.
Victor climbs the ranks
Such a convincing win over a respected opponent lifted Benn up the world rankings. He’s currently number one at the weight in the United Kingdom, holding that lofty position ahead of the likes of Josh Kelly and Michael McKinson. That weekend win has also helped raise his reputation among the best fighters on the planet, and Benn is currently ranked number 12th on the global record. The current best welterweight in the world is Terrence Crawford, but the American has plans to move up another weight division in the search for big fights and better opponents. If Bud were to move up to light-middleweight, it would create a gap at welterweight. There would then be a free for all to fill the top spot, and Benn would be a strong contender.
Until then, all Benn can do is continue to improve in the gym and trust the team around him. His coaches will help keep him on the right track, and the team at Matchroom Boxing will ensure their man is matched with the right opponents at the right time until that world title shot becomes a reality. Then, it’s up to Conor to take his chance.