Nigel Gregory Benn (born 22 January 1964) is a British former professional boxer who competed from 1987 to 1996. He held world championships in two weight classes, including the WBO middleweight title in 1990, and the WBC super-middleweight title from 1992 to 1996. Regionally he held the Commonwealth middleweight title from 1988 to 1989. Nicknamed "The Dark Destroyer" for his formidable punching power and aggressive fighting style, he retired with an 83.3% knockout-to-win ratio and is ranked by BoxRec as the fourth best British super-middleweight boxer of all time.
|Real name||Nigel Gregory Benn|
|Nickname(s)||The Dark Destroyer|
|Height||5 ft 9 1⁄2 in (177 cm)|
|Reach||73 in (185 cm)|
|Born||22 January 1964|
Ilford, London, England
|Wins by KO||35|
- 1 Early years and amateur career
- 2 Professional career
- 3 Life after boxing
- 4 Professional boxing record
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early years and amateur careerEdit
Benn was born in Ilford, London, on 22 January 1964 to parents from Barbados, the sixth of seven brothers. He attended Loxford School of Science and Technology. Benn served for four and a half years in the British Army as an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He was stationed in West Germany for three years, then Northern Ireland during the Troubles for eighteen months (Royal Fusiliers later made appearances in regimental uniform at certain Benn fights in homage to their fellow comrade-in-arms.) Benn had a record of 41 wins and 1 loss as an amateur boxer, with the loss being against Rod Douglas, whom Benn later defeated.
- Amateur boxing: 41 wins, 1 loss (avenged.)
- Undefeated Welterweight for the First Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 1982 and 1984 – won titles all the way up to heavyweight and trained others in his regiment's boxing team
- 1986 ABA Middleweight Champion, avenging a previous loss to Rod Douglas.
Benn turned professional in 1987 and began a streak of consecutive knockout wins. This ensured a rapid rise through the professional ranks and during this time, Benn won the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title with a second round win over Abdul Umaru, at Alexandra Pavilion on April 20th 1988.
At 22-0 (22 KOs), Benn defended his Commonwealth title against Michael Watson in a heavily hyped bout in May 1989 at Finsbury Park, London. The fight even appeared on national television in the US. Throwing virtually nothing but hooks, Benn repeatedly failed to get through Watson's tight guard, and gradually tired whilst being stunned numerous times himself.
In the sixth round, Watson knocked Benn down with a jab and Benn was counted out as he rose to his feet, albeit by a somewhat hasty referee's count.
His next fight, against Jorge Amparo in Atlantic City, U.S., was his first fight abroad and also the first to last the full distance, with Benn winning a 10-round decision.
WBO middleweight championEdit
After two more wins, against Sanderline Williams and Jose Quinones, Benn fought WBO middleweight title holder Doug DeWitt of the USA in Atlantic City. Benn was knocked down in round two, but came back to knock DeWitt down in round three, then score three knockdowns in round eight to win the title.
His first defence came in August 1990 against former WBC champion Iran Barkley, whom he floored three times and stopped on the three-knockdown rule at the end of the first round. Benn returned to the UK and met British rival Chris Eubank. They fought in Birmingham on 18 November 1990. Benn lost his title to Eubank when the referee stopped the fight in the ninth round.
WBC super-middleweight championEdit
Benn then went on a winning streak of six fights leading up to another world title challenge. In 1991, he beat Marvin Hagler's half brother, Robbie Sims, by a knockout in round seven, followed by a close, disputed decision win against Thulani Malinga, and a one-punch KO victory against Dan Sherry.
On 10 October 1992, Benn challenged Mauro Galvano for the WBC super-middleweight title in Palaghiaccio de Marino, Marino, Lazio, Italy. After a controversial dispute at ringside over the official result after Galvano was unable to continue due to a severe cut, Benn was declared the winner and won the title by a fourth-round TKO.
While still a dangerous, and damaging puncher, Benn's move to the higher weight limit saw him refine his fight strategy and adopt a more considered approach. The aggression remained but he relied less on one punch knockout power and became a more effective, and adaptable fighter. He defended his title against fellow Britons Nicky Piper and Lou Gent, and a rematch victory over Mauro Galvano, before again boxing great rival Chris Eubank, who was now WBO super-middleweight champion, in a unification bout on 9 October 1993. In a closely fought contest they boxed to a disputed draw, with both fighters retaining their respective titles. Benn successfully defended his title twice more in 1994 with unanimous decisions against fellow Briton Henry Wharton and Juan Carlos Giminez
Benn vs McClellanEdit
In February 1995, Benn defended his 168 lb title against WBC middleweight champion Gerald McClellan in a highly anticipated bout billed as "Sudden Impact". Most American experts gave Benn little chance against the hard punching challenger. In an epic, thrilling fight Benn was knocked through the ropes in the first round but fought his way back into the contest which developed into a brutal war. Benn was knocked down again in the eighth round, but an exhausted and drained McClellan was unable to follow up and Benn rallied to stop McClellan in the tenth round. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had McClellan ahead and one had the fight even.
McClellan was severely injured as a result of the fight. After collapsing in his corner after the fight had finished, McClellan was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had developed a blood clot on the brain. To this day McClellan is almost completely blind and uses a wheelchair, although he has regained some movement and can walk with a cane. In 2007, McClellan, his wife and children attended a benefit dinner organised and hosted by Benn to help McClellan with his ongoing medical expenses.
Two more defences followed against future WBC title-holder Vincenzo Nardiello and American Danny Perez, before Benn lost his title with an uncharacteristically lacklustre performance to old rival Malinga in 1996.
Benn vs Collins I and IIEdit
Benn twice attempted to take the WBO super-middleweight title from Steve Collins but failed in both attempts: losing by TKO in four in the first fight after sustaining an ankle injury. He retired following the second loss to Collins in 1996, retiring on his stool at the end of the sixth-round.
Return from retirementEdit
On 24 September 2019, Benn announced that he was coming out of retirement and would fight on 23 November 2019, 23 years after his last fight. He is set to fight Sakio Bika (34-7-3) on his return to the ring. The British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the fight, which instead will be sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority.
Life after boxingEdit
After his professional boxing career, Benn became a DJ. He later appeared in the first series of the ITV reality TV show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. Benn's autobiography, published in 2001, is called Dark Destroyer.
Benn has since developed a strong faith and is a born-again Christian. Benn now lives with his family in Sydney, Australia, where he has been studying theology, sports coaching and sports development. He is still active in the international boxing scene mentoring, developing and training both amateur and professional boxers in Australia.
Benn was entered into the World Boxing Council (WBC) Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013 and was honoured alongside fellow Brit Joe Calzaghe as the WBC's greatest super middleweight champion in history. His image is now enshrined upon the sixth generation WBC super middleweight belt.
Benn works with youth at risk in Blacktown, NSW and is dedicated to his charity work. He is an ambassador to the New South Wales Police Citizens Youth Club's (PCYC) and is an advocate for healthy living. Benn is also a Patron of the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, a UK children's charity based in the North West of England, helping children with life-threatening conditions and their families.
Benn ran the 2013 City to Surf to raise funds for the most underfunded PCYC gym in Redfern, Sydney and has undertaken many fund raisers for the charity since improving the boxing facilities in the most impoverished areas of Sydney. Benn regularly assists Christian groups, counselling individuals suffering from addiction and along with wife Carolyne counsels couples who are facing marriage issues.
One of Benn's sons, Conor Benn, turned professional in 2016 and is currently fighting at welterweight. Another son, Harley, turned professional in 2017. Harley currently has a record of 6-1, having lost to Lee Hallett (0-16) on 18 May 2019.
Professional boxing recordEdit
|Professional record summary|
|48 fights||42 wins||5 losses|
|48||Loss||42–5–1||Steve Collins||RTD||6 (12), 3:00||9 Nov 1996||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||For WBO super-middleweight title|
|47||Loss||42–4–1||Steve Collins||TKO||4 (12), 2:44||6 Jul 1996||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||For WBO super-middleweight title|
|46||Loss||42–3–1||Thulani Malinga||SD||12||2 Mar 1996||Telewest Arena, Newcastle, England||Lost WBC super-middleweight title|
|45||Win||42–2–1||Danny Perez||TKO||7 (12), 2:33||2 Sep 1995||Wembley Stadium, London, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|44||Win||41–2–1||Vincenzo Nardiello||TKO||8 (12), 1:43||22 Jul 1995||London Arena, London, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|43||Win||40–2–1||Gerald McClellan||KO||10 (12), 1:46||25 Feb 1995||London Arena, London, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|42||Win||39–2–1||Juan Carlos Giménez Ferreyra||UD||12||10 Sep 1994||National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|41||Win||38–2–1||Henry Wharton||UD||12||26 Feb 1994||Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|40||Draw||37–2–1||Chris Eubank||SD||12||9 Oct 1993||Old Trafford, Manchester, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title;|
For WBO super-middleweight title
|39||Win||37–2||Lou Gent||TKO||4 (12), 0:35||26 Jun 1993||Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|38||win||36–2||Mauro Galvano||UD||12||6 Mar 1993||Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, Scotland||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|37||Win||35–2||Nicky Piper||TKO||11 (12), 1:44||12 Dec 1992||Alexandra Pavilion, London, England||Retained WBC super-middleweight title|
|36||Win||34–2||Mauro Galvano||TKO||4 (12)||3 Oct 1992||Palaghiaccio, Marino, Italy||Won WBC super-middleweight title|
|35||Win||33–2||Thulani Malinga||PTS||10||23 May 1992||National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England|
|34||Win||32–2||Dan Sherry||KO||3 (10), 2:34||19 Feb 1992||Alexandra Pavilion, London, England|
|33||win||31–2||Hector Abel Lescano||KO||3 (10), 2:35||7 Dec 1991||G-Mex Centre, Manchester, England|
|32||Win||30–2||Lenzie Morgan||UD||10||26 Oct 1991||Leisure Centre, Brentwood, England|
|31||Win||29–2||Kid Milo||TKO||4 (10)||3 Jul 1991||International Centre, Brentwood, England|
|30||Win||28–2||Robbie Sims||TKO||7 (10)||3 Apr 1991||York Hall, London, England|
|29||Loss||27–2||Chris Eubank||TKO||9 (12), 2:56||18 Nov 1990||National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England||Lost WBO middleweight title|
|28||Win||27–1||Iran Barkley||TKO||1 (12), 2:57||18 Aug 1990||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, US||Retained WBO middleweight title|
|27||Win||26–1||Doug DeWitt||TKO||8 (12), 0:44||29 Apr 1990||Caesar's, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US||Won WBO middleweight title|
|26||Win||25–1||Sanderline Williams||SD||10||14 Jan 1990||Caesar's, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|25||Win||24–1||Jose Quinones||TKO||1 (10), 2:51||1 Dec 1989||Hacienda Resort Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|24||Win||23–1||Jorge Amparo||UD||10||20 Oct 1989||Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|23||Loss||22–1||Michael Watson||TKO||6 (12), 1:34||21 May 1989||Majestic Ballroom, London, England||Lost Commonwealth middleweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Mbayo Wa Mbayo||KO||2 (10), 2:20||28 Mar 1989||Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland|
|21||Win||21–0||Michael Chilambe||KO||1 (12), 1:07||8 Feb 1989||Royal Albert Hall, London, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title|
|20||Win||20–0||David Noel||TKO||1 (12), 2:04||10 Dec 1988||Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title|
|19||Win||19–0||Anthony Logan||KO||2 (12), 1:15||26 Oct 1988||Royal Albert Hall, London, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title|
|18||win||18–0||Tim Williams||TKO||2 (10), 0:59||28 May 1988||Royal Albert Hall, London, England|
|17||Win||17–0||Abdul Umaru Sanda||TKO||2 (12)||20 Apr 1988||Alexandra Pavilion, London, England||Won vacant Commonwealth middleweight title|
|16||Win||16–0||Darren Hobson||KO||1 (8), 1:49||13 Apr 1988||Norwich Lads Boxing Club, Norwich, England|
|15||Win||15–0||Greg Taylor||TKO||2 (8)||24 Feb 1988||Afan Lido F.C., Port Talbot, Wales|
|14||Win||14–0||Byron Prince||TKO||2 (8)||7 Feb 1988||Bingley Hall, Stafford, England|
|13||Win||13–0||Fermin Chirino||KO||2 (8)||27 Jan 1988||York Hall, London, England|
|12||Win||12–0||Reggie Miller||TKO||7 (10), 1:08||2 Dec 1987||Wembley Conference Centre, London, England|
|11||Win||11–0||Ian Chantler||KO||1 (8), 0:16||24 Nov 1987||The Hudson, Wisbech, England|
|10||Win||10–0||Ronnie Yoe||TKO||1 (8)||3 Nov 1987||Crowtree Leisure Centre, Sunderland, England|
|9||Win||9–0||Russell Barker||TKO||1 (6), 1:15||13 Oct 1987||Blazers Nightclub, Windsor, England|
|8||Win||8–0||Winston Burnett||KO||3 (6), 1:55||16 Sep 1987||Royal Albert Hall, London, England|
|7||Win||7–0||Eddie Smith||KO||2 (8), 1:08||8 Sep 1987||Blazers Nightclub, Windsor, England|
|6||Win||6–0||Leon Morris||KO||1 (6), 0:25||1 Jul 1987||Royal Albert Hall, London, England|
|5||Win||5–0||Reginald Marks||TKO||1 (6)||7 Jun 1987||Royal Albert Hall, London, England|
|4||Win||4–0||Winston Burnett||TKO||4 (8)||9 May 1987||Latchmere Leisure Centre, London, England|
|3||Win||3–0||Rob Nieuwenhuizen||TKO||1 (6), 2:03||22 Apr 1987||Royal Albert Hall, London, England|
|2||Win||2–0||Kevin Roper||TKO||1 (6)||4 Mar 1987||Festival Hall Super Tent, Basildon, England|
|1||Win||1–0||Graeme Ahmed||TKO||2 (8), 1:10||28 Jan 1987||Fairfield Halls, London, England|
- "The best rum houses in Barbados". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "BBC - Ben Dirs: Dark Destroyer sees the light".
- "Nigel Benn". Nigel Benn. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "World Boxing Council". Wbcboxing.com. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Daniel Lane. "'When you think he is in darkness, that's a scary thought ... the darkness'". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "Gold Charity Ambassadors". City2Surf. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "Media & Events". Pcycnsw.org. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "Life Community :August 2014 News" (PDF). Salvos.org.au. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Rafael, Dan (2016) "New pro Harley Benn: 'This is my journey'", ESPN, 19 October 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Nigel Benn|
|Amateur boxing titles|
| ABA middleweight champion
|Regional boxing titles|
Title last held byTony Sibson
20 April 1988 – 21 June 1989
|World boxing titles|
| WBO middleweight champion
29 April 1990 – 18 Nov 1990
| WBC super-middleweight champion
3 October 1992 – 2 March 1996