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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.

Nigel Benn
Statistics
Real nameNigel Gregory Benn
Nickname(s)The Dark Destroyer
Weight(s)
Height5 ft 9 12 in (177 cm)
Reach73 in (185 cm)
NationalityBritish
Born (1964-01-22) 22 January 1964 (age 55)
Ilford, London, England
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights48
Wins42
Wins by KO35
Losses5
Draws1

Early years and amateur careerEdit

Benn was born in Ilford, London, on 22 January 1964 to parents from Barbados, the sixth of seven brothers.[1] 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.[2] 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 accomplishmentsEdit

  • 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.

Professional careerEdit

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.[3]

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.[4][5]

Benn works with youth at risk in Blacktown, NSW[6] and is dedicated to his charity work. He is an ambassador to the New South Wales Police Citizens Youth Club's (PCYC)[7] and is an advocate for healthy living.[4] 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[8] 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[9] 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.[10] Another son, Harley,[11] turned professional in 2017. Harley currently has a record of 6-1, having lost to Lee Hallett (0-16) on 18 May 2019.[12]

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
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 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

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The best rum houses in Barbados". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  2. ^ "BBC - Ben Dirs: Dark Destroyer sees the light".
  3. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/boxing/49810169
  4. ^ a b "Nigel Benn". Nigel Benn. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  5. ^ "World Boxing Council". Wbcboxing.com. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  6. ^ Daniel Lane. "'When you think he is in darkness, that's a scary thought ... the darkness'". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Gold Charity Ambassadors". City2Surf. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Media & Events". Pcycnsw.org. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Life Community :August 2014 News" (PDF). Salvos.org.au. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  10. ^ https://boxrec.com/en/proboxer/750377
  11. ^ Rafael, Dan (2016) "New pro Harley Benn: 'This is my journey'", ESPN, 19 October 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016
  12. ^ https://boxrec.com/en/proboxer/785982

External linksEdit

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
Michael Watson
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Doug DeWitt
WBO middleweight champion
29 April 1990 – 18 Nov 1990
Succeeded by
Chris Eubank
Preceded by
Mauro Galvano
WBC super-middleweight champion
3 October 1992 – 2 March 1996
Succeeded by
Thulani Malinga