June 22, 2021
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‘Conor Benn is a breath of fresh air for British boxing’

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Conor Benn is rapidly establishing himself as a new attraction in British boxing. John Dennen speaks to his trainer Tony Sims about what’s next

CONOR BENN is rapidly establishing himself as a new attraction in British boxing. He stopped Samuel Vargas with unexpected speed on Saturday, an impressive finish, and he should remain active, with July being eyed for his next outing.

“That’s the idea, to box him again in July. I want to keep him busy now,” Tony Sims, his trainer, told Boxing News. “I want to get another fight in July and maybe another fight at the end of December and just keep him nice and busy now.

“They more they fight, the better their experience.”

Conor, the son of British boxing legend Nigel Benn, will headline once again. “The numbers are so big that he’s doing. Behind the heavyweights, behind [Anthony] Joshua and Dillian Whyte, he’s doing the next big numbers on Sky. He’ll always headline his own shows now,” Sims said. “At the end of the day, when he talks people listen and his style is exciting. We’ve seen him going on the floor as a novice. He’s got a little bit of vulnerability that his dad had but he’s also got power in both hands that his dad carried. People want to watch that.”

“He’s exciting and he’s a breath of fresh air for British boxing,” Tony continued. “He’s real when he talks, he shows raw emotion sometimes and people tune in to watch that. That’s what fighting’s about. It is raw. Fighting is raw and they want to see real people.”

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

However in terms of his opposition, Sims is not looking to fast-track him. “I need him to gain experience. I got him a boxer who boxes off the backfoot last time, this time I got him a rugged fighter who comes forward, obviously it finished early,” Tony said. “I thought we’d be in for a tough fight and I envisioned obviously Conor beating [Vargas] and I envisioned him maybe stopping him later on in the fight.

“He takes a bit of stopping normally. He takes a shot. He’s durable. He can bang a little bit, he showed against [Amir] Khan. I was envisioning quite a difficult fight early on and then Conor comes on to stop him. But he caught Vargas early and he finished the job there and then. It was a great finish as well.

“But I’m trying to put him in with different styles of fighting. [So] when he does reach them heights and is boxing the big names, he’s been in with mostly every style and he can cope whatever style comes at him.”

But another of Sims’ boxers will be challenging for a British title next. Commonwealth champion Felix Cash boxes Denzel Bentley for the British middleweight title on April 24 on BT Sport. Cash chose to go for this fight rather than take a shot at the European title. “I left the option up to him but he did have two options,” Sims said. “He wanted to fight for the British title. It’s a big thing for him, winning the Lonsdale belt.”

“It should be a good fight. They’re both unbeaten so it should be a good fight but I’m expecting Felix to come through,” he continued. “It’s a tough fight. They’re both unbeaten young prospects. When you look at Felix’s resume, he’s boxed all round the world with GB. He was on GB for quite a long time and boxed all the top amateurs.

“He’s got a lot of experience like that that Bentley hasn’t really experienced.”

The gym is on a tremendous run of form. Stablemate Ted Cheeseman has just won the British super-welterweight crown in another war, this time against James Metcalf. Sims doesn’t see Cheeseman fighting British rival Anthony Fowler next though. “If you look at the last six fights [Cheeseman]’s been in, it’s horrendous really. He just fought everyone in the domestic division apart from Fowler,” Sims said. “He’s fought Metcalf, [Scott] Fitzgerald, [Kieron] Conway, [Sergio] Garcia, [Asinia] Byfield, Carson Jones, one after the other.

“Fowler needs to fight someone on the resume that Ted’s fought. The opponents that Fowler’s fought apart from Fitzgerald, who are they?

“Cheeseman-Fowler is a big fight, it’s also another really difficult, hard fight. It’s also another war [so] I’ve got to be smart around Ted’s career.”

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