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. He is considered one of the best Super Middleweights of all time.[2][3]At the regional level, he held the Commonwealth middleweight title from 1988 to 1989. He scored notable wins over Champions Doug DeWitt, Iran Barkley, Thulani Malinga, Mauro Galvano and Gerald McClellan.

Nigel Benn
Born
Nigel Gregory Benn

(1964-01-22) 22 January 1964 (age 60)
Other namesThe Dark Destroyer
Statistics
Weight(s)
Height5 ft 9+12 in (177 cm)[1]
Reach73 in (185 cm)[1]
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights48
Wins42
Wins by KO35
Losses5
Draws1

Nicknamed "The Dark Destroyer" for his formidable punching power, Benn retired with a 83.3% knockout ratio.[4] His best-known fights include the successful world middleweight title defense against Iran Barkley in 1989; the two all-British world title contests against Chris Eubank in 1990 and 1993 (Nigel Benn vs. Chris Eubank), and the successful—but tragic—defense of his world super-middleweight title against Gerald McClellan in 1995 (Nigel Benn vs. Gerald McClellan). In the build to his ring walks, Big Ben would often chime before he made his entrance to music.[5]

Early life and amateur career

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Benn was born in Ilford, East London, on 22 January 1964. Benn joined the British Army Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at the age of 18. He was stationed in West Germany for three years, and then in Northern Ireland for eighteen months. On leaving the army, Benn joined West Ham Amateur Boxing Club.[6]

Amateur accomplishments

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  • 1986 Amateur Boxing Association Middleweight Champion.[7]

Professional career

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Benn turned professional in 1987 and began a streak of 22 consecutive knockout wins. During this time, Benn won the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title with a second-round win over Abdul Umaru, at Alexandra Pavilion on 20 April 1988. [8][9]

in May 1989 Benn (22-0, 22 KOs) lost his Commonwealth title against Michael Watson in a heavily anticipated bout at Finsbury Park, London (Nigel Benn vs. Michael Watson). The fight appeared on national television in the US [citation needed]. In the sixth round, Watson knocked Benn down with a jab and Benn was counted out as he rose to his feet [citation needed].

His next fight against Jorge Amparo in Atlantic City, U.S. was his first fight abroad and the first to last the full distance, with Benn winning a 10-round decision. [10]

WBO middleweight champion

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After two more wins, against Sanderline Williams and Jose Quinones, Benn fought WBO middleweight title holder Doug DeWitt of the US in Atlantic City. Benn was knocked down in round two, but came back to knock DeWitt down in round three. Benn scored three knockdowns in round eight to win the title.[11]

His first defense came in August 1990 against former WBC champion Iran Barkley. Benn won via the three-knockdown rule at the end of the first round. Benn returned to the UK and met British rival Chris Eubank three months later. They fought in Birmingham on 18 November 1990. Benn lost his title to Eubank in the ninth round after the referee stepped in and declared a win for Eubank via Technical knockout.[12]

WBC super-middleweight champion

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Beginning in 1991 with a seventh-round KO victory over Robbie Sims (Marvin Hagler's half-brother), Benn went on a winning streak of six fights leading to another world title challenge. Other noteworthy wins in this period include a disputed decision win against Thulani Malinga and a one-punch KO victory against Dan Sherry.

On 10 October 1992, Benn successfully challenged Mauro Galvano for the WBC super-middleweight title in Palaghiaccio de Marino, Marino, Lazio, Italy. Galvano was unable to continue in the third due to a severe cut, and—after a controversial dispute at ringside over the official result—Benn was declared the winner by technical decision.

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.[citation needed] He defended his title against fellow Britons Nicky Piper and Lou Gent, and a rematch victory over Mauro Galvano, before again Chris Eubank—who was now WBO super-middleweight champion—in a unification bout on 9 October 1993. The bout ended in a draw, with both fighters retaining their respective titles. Benn defended his title twice more in 1994 with unanimous decisions against Henry Wharton and Juan Carlos Giminez Ferreyra.[13]

Benn vs McClellan

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In February 1995, Benn successfully defended his 168  lb title against WBC middleweight champion Gerald McClellan in a highly anticipated bout billed as Sudden Impact. Going into the fight McClellan had won his last 21 fights—the last 14 of those by knockout; with 13 of those knockouts in the first three Rounds. McClellan had twice defeated the renowned power-puncher Julian Jackson, with knockouts in Round 5 and Round 1 respectively. McClellan had never been beyond Round 8 in any of his previous fights, insisting that he rarely needed more than three rounds to defeat his opponents [citation needed].

Round 1 saw Benn knocked through the ropes as McClellan asserted himself in dominant fashion and looked to be good to his word. Benn was forced to hang on and fight his way to survival in the early rounds of the contest, which developed into a brutal war between. Benn forced his control of the contest's momentum in Rounds 4–6 as McClellan began to act increasingly out of sorts, struggling to keep his gumshield in his mouth and backing off for prolonged periods while blinking repetitively. In an apparent change in fortunes, McClellan then struck back in Rounds 7 and 8, knocking Benn down again in the eighth. However, a now clearly exhausted and drained McClellan was unable to follow up as Benn rallied to stop McClellan in Round 10 by KO, with McClellan unable to rise from his knee. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had McClellan ahead, the other had the fight even. Although, these scores are from the end of Round 9, and do not reflect the two knockdowns scored by Benn in the tenth[citation needed].

McClellan was severely injured as a result of the contest. After collapsing in his corner post-fight, McClellan was rushed to hospital where a blood clot was discovered on his brain. To this day[vague] McClellan has short-term memory problems, is almost completely blind, partially deaf, and uses a wheelchair. Although he has regained some movement and some of his hearing since 1995, having been 80% deaf and he can now walk with a cane. In 2007, McClellan, his sister and his children attended a benefit dinner organised and hosted by Benn to help McClellan with his ongoing medical expenses[citation needed].

After his fight with McClellan, Benn had two further successful title defenses, with wins against future WBC title-holder Vincenzo Nardiello and American Danny Perez. Benn then lost his title to Malinga in 1996 in a fight that saw Benn knock Malinga down in the fifth round, but in which he also met the canvass in the twelfth. Benn lost the contest by a split decision (118-109, 115–111, 112–114)[citation needed].

Benn vs Collins I and II

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In 1996, Benn attempted to take the WBO super-middleweight title twice from Steve Collins—who had taken that particular title from Eubank and beat him in a rematch. Benn failed in both attempts. In the first fight, he lost by TKO in Round 4 after sustaining an ankle injury. In the rematch four months later, Benn was retired by his corner at the end of Round 6 with Benn on his stool. Benn retired from professional boxing altogether shortly after the fight[14].

Return from retirement

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On 24 September 2019, Benn announced his return to boxing at the age of 55 after 23 years of being out of the ring. Benn reasoned that he wanted "closure" after the unsatisfactory end to his boxing career in 1996[citation needed] as he announced a forthcoming bout with former WBC super-middleweight world champion Sakio Bika (34-7-3) that was planned to take place on 23 November 2019. The British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the fight, which instead was to be somewhat controversially sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority.[15] However, the fight was subsequently called off when Benn suffered a shoulder injury in sparring. A disappointed Benn reluctantly confirmed that he was abandoning his planned boxing comeback.[16]

Life after boxing

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Benn was entered into the World Boxing Council (WBC) Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013 and was honored 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.[17][18]

Benn works with youth at risk in Blacktown, NSW[19] and is dedicated to his charity work. He is an ambassador to the New South Wales Police Citizens Youth Club's (PCYC)[20] and is an advocate for healthy living.[17] 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[21] 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 with addiction[22] 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.[23] Another son, Harley,[24] turned professional in 2017.[25]

Professional boxing record

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48 fights 42 wins 5 losses
By knockout 35 4
By decision 7 1
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
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 SD 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

References

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  1. ^ a b ITV Sports tale of the tape prior to the Chris Eubank rematch.
  2. ^ Levinson, Scott (12 January 2012). "Top 10 Best Super Middleweights of All-Time". ProBoxing-Fans.com. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  3. ^ "WBC remember some of the world's best super middleweights in history ahead of Canelo vs Ryder". www.britishboxingnews.co.uk. 3 May 2023. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  4. ^ "BoxRec: Nigel Benn".
  5. ^ "VOTE: Your favourite ring walk of the Year from the five we've picked he was my grandads sparin partner in the army his name is Phillip hughes". Sky Sports. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  6. ^ "West Ham Boxing Club (@westhamboxing) • Instagram photos and videos". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  7. ^ "1986 Amateur Boxing Results". amateur-boxing.strefa.pl. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  8. ^ "Who is Nigel Benn? Background, record, championships, biggest wins of Benn's career | DAZN News US". DAZN. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  9. ^ "BoxRec: Nigel Benn". BoxRec. 21 June 2023. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Who is Nigel Benn? Background, record, championships, biggest wins of Benn's career | DAZN News US". DAZN. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  11. ^ "Doug DeWitt vs. Nigel Benn - BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  12. ^ Lancaster, Rob. "25 Years On: Recalling the 1st Epic Fight Between Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  13. ^ "BoxRec: Nigel Benn". boxrec.com. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  14. ^ "Who is Nigel Benn? Background, record, championships, biggest wins of Benn's career | DAZN News US". DAZN. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  15. ^ "Benn to return to boxing at 55". BBC Sport.
  16. ^ "Nigel Benn comeback fight off due to shoulder injury". BBC Sport. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Nigel Benn". Nigel Benn. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  18. ^ "World Boxing Council". Wbcboxing.com. 6 June 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  19. ^ Daniel Lane (6 September 2013). "'When you think he is in darkness, that's a scary thought ... the darkness'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Gold Charity Ambassadors". City2Surf. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Media & Events". Pcycnsw.org. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Life Community :August 2014 News" (PDF). Salvos.org.au. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  23. ^ "BoxRec: Conor Benn".
  24. ^ Rafael, Dan (2016) "New pro Harley Benn: 'This is my journey'", ESPN, 19 October 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016
  25. ^ "BoxRec: Harley Benn".
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Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Previous:
Denys Cronin
ABA middleweight champion
1986
Next:
Rod Douglas
Regional boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Tony Sibson
Commonwealth
middleweight champion

20 April 1988 – 21 June 1989
Succeeded by
World boxing titles
Preceded by WBO middleweight champion
29 April 1990 – 18 Nov 1990
Succeeded by
Preceded by WBC super-middleweight champion
3 October 1992 – 2 March 1996
Succeeded by