Sebastian Formella: If a round is very close, the judges will give it to Conor Benn

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Sebastian Formella (22-1, 10 KOs) heads into his first fight on English soil well aware of the reputation boxing judges have when it comes to the home country fighter.

Formella takes on unbeaten welterweight prospect Conor Benn (16-0, 11 KOs) on Saturday in his first fight since losing his own "0" in August, when he travelled to California for a decision loss to former IBF welterweight king Shawn Porter.

All of his 22 victories took place in mainland Europe; 21 in his native Germany and one in Sweden. And the 33-year-old is not expecting any favours on fight night from the three ringside judges.

"I think if there is a close round, it’s likely the judges will give it to Conor," Formella told a gathering of boxing media via Zoom on Tuesday. "But I will go into the fight and not think about that.

"It would be the same if we fought in Germany, I would have the advantage [with the judges] then. But on Saturday, I know I must do more than him to win the round."

Judges at fights held during the COVID-19 pandemic are almost entirely domestically-based, for obvious reasons.

When he lost the unanimous decision to Porter stateside over the summer, former WBO European light-middleweight champion Formella did not feel as though he got a raw deal but admits he gained a lot from the step up.

"I learned from the Shawn Porter fight to put my hands up!", said the jovial Formella. "There was big pressure fighting a superstar from America but I was very proud of that fight.

"It was interesting to see how people train and spar at that level. It wasn’t about just the fight, but the experience.

"I lost to Shawn but I gained the respect of the American fans for not giving up and fighting for more than just money. It led to more offers from American promotions, and during the coronavirus pandemic I also received offers from England.

"It was not a shock because everybody who knows Shawn Porter knows he has an aggressive style. What surprised me was that his combinations were really good. Most fighters can put together four or five shots but Shawn would get to six, seven, eight and nine in a combination, and that surprised me.

"The break between the Porter fight and agreeing to this was very short, only six weeks, but I’ll be ready to go.

"Porter is a high level fighter, and we will see on Saturday if Conor is too."

The bout against Porter was a taste of boxing without a crowd for Formella, something Benn has yet to sample.

With no partisan crowd there to cheer the Londoner on, Formella has the advantage in both overall ring time and handling the "new normal".

"This is the first time for Conor to fight without a crowd, and it’s a strange experience," explained Formella. "The fans in England are crazy and it’s very cool when they react. So I’m sad we will only fight in an empty arena.

"I think my experience is one of the keys. He has very, very good sparring options in England but the actual fights are a completely different matter. I have better fight experience, have fought in six 12-round fights, and went all 12 rounds in four of them."

Formella was also asked if he has recognised any weaknesses in the 24-year-old's game.

"Of course I’ve seen weaknesses," he responded. "But I can’t talk about those!

"Every boxer has something that’s very good, and something that’s not very good. 

"It’s the first time he will main event, so the pressure on him is very big. Everybody knows his dad and everybody says it’s a big step up for him.

"Everybody who knows Conor knows he is aggressive and strong but can also fight a very good technical game. I think we will both bring good technical skills to this but the fight will open up and the fans will enjoy it.

"I am fighting for my legacy. We get paid, of course, but these big fights add to my legacy. They are very good, interesting fights and I’m not scared to get in the ring with someone who is very good."

Benn vs. Formella airs live Nov. 21 on Sky Sports in the U.K. and on DAZN in all nine DAZN markets including the U.S.

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