New super-lightweight Conor Benn admits he faces a tough task to step out of the shadow his legendary father Nigel currently casts on his fledging career.
The 19 year-old is pencilled in to fight for the first time in the paid ranks on the April 9 world heavyweight title bill between Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua after signing a deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Benn is under no illusions of the pressure that will be bestowed on him due to his famous surname as his dad is much loved in British boxing circles and world-renowned for his fighting spirit and likeability.
Speaking after signing his lucrative deal, Benn said honestly: “I’m Conor Benn, but I’ll always be known as Nigel’s son. Until I get inducted into the Hall of Fame, until I win World titles at three weights – not two, because that’s what my Dad did and I need to do more – until I’ve become the youngest World champion or won more belts, I’ll always be Nigel Benn’s son, and achieving more will be very hard.”
Nigel has always been apprehensive about allowing his son to follow in his footsteps but Conor could do nothing about the creed instilled in him, plus the strong desire to lace up a pair of gloves and throw punches.
“I’ve been boxing for about three years now, I didn’t know that fighting was made for me but I do now. I think I’ve progressed really quickly. People say it’s because of my surname – it’s because of that and that I can fight like my last name.
“My Dad didn’t really want me to fight, he thought that I would give it a try and have it as a hobby, but it escalated really quickly. He said there were a million other things to do, why do you need to fight? But I have no choice but to fight because it’s in me, it’s what I want to do, I want to be the best.
“I’m scared about my debut. I’ve come to England by myself and the pressure on my shoulders is intense. But the fans have embraced me already, I feel they are going to be behind me, but I thrive on fear. No-one understands the position I am in, to have a legend as a Dad and then move accross the world at 19, leave my family behind, walk into media pressure straight away. But once a day I have a feeling that no-one can touch me, because if anyone wants to have it with me, I’ll have it with them,” he warned.