Conor Benn: Beating Sebastian Formella doesn't put me on the map, I'm already there!

3 min read
conor-benn-09102019-ftr Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Conor Benn looks to make up for lost time when he takes on former European welterweight champion Sebastian Formella in the main event of Saturday's Matchroom Boxing card at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

Benn hasn't fought since last year thanks to injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic, while his more experienced opponent has already notched two bouts in 2020 and most recently fought former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter.

The contest is a noticable increase in opponent quality for "The Destroyer," though he told members of the media via Zoom on Tuesday that he goes into the fight with a considerable profile already.

"I wouldn’t say this win puts me on the map," said Benn. "People know who I am, and boxers are already calling me out left, right and centre. I’d say I’m already on the map.

"Social media gives people a platform to call out other fighters. And it’s great PR. But the amount of people that have called me out over the years… and it gets very disrespectful some of the time."

Benn has sparred with fellow British welterweight Kell Brook, who dethroned Porter in 2014 and competed recently in a knockout defeat to WBO welter kingpin Terence Crawford.

Based on his experiences with "Special K," Benn isn't the least bit fazed by Formella's big fight night stateside in August.

"I learned about myself while sparring with Kell Brook," he continued. "It made me confident in my ability, because Kell’s one of those fighters I looked up to. I went to his fights against Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr., and I don't often go to other boxer's fights.

"He’s one of my favourite fighters, so to spar with him was a privilege and I really learned a lot about myself during that spar.

"Based on that experience, Formella shouldn’t be a problem. You wouldn’t put Formella in the same sentence as Brook."

Nonetheless, Benn is well aware that he remains some ways away from where he ultimately wants to be in boxing, adding that his much-hyped leap into professional boxing adds that extra level of necessity to mature as a fighter.

"We’ve been grafting non-stop," said the 24-year-old Londoner. "You never finish learning in this game.

"Am I the finished article? Far from it. Injuries and the pandemic gave me the chance to slow down and take my time, and learn behind closed doors without pressure from the general public to rush me.

"Saturday night, I will answer a lot of questions that are being asked of me.  It definitely isn’t going to be an easy night’s work. If it was a tough night for Shawn Porter, it’ll be a hard night’s work for me. It’s a big step up, a big test.

"It’s a statement fight for me. I’ve been working on so many different things. There are so many things coming into this game as a young novice that you don’t understand. The mind’s a powerful thing."

And in response to some suggestions that he wasn't keen on returning to the ring while fans remain unable to attend, Benn insists that empty arenas had nothing to do with his deliberations.

He explained: "It’s not that I was unsure about fighting behind closed doors. My dad was unsure, but I was okay with it. But, it has to be the right fight.

"I didn’t want to rush into it for a payday. It’s not about the money for me. I wanted to have a meaningful fight, like Chris Jenkins, Sam Eggington, Ashley Theophane… we tried to make all of them happen, but none of them could materialise.

"I wanted someone who would be a good name on my record. It wasn’t about me not wanting to fight behind closed doors, it was a matter of who. 

"I’d fight in a telephone box! It ain’t about having a crowd or not, I will get out there and fight."

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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