EXCLUSIVE: Conor Benn talks KO win, reacts to critical commentary
Hard-hitting Conor Benn headlined his first show last Friday night when he faced Jussi Koivula on the NXTGN show on Sky Sports and DAZN.
On paper, Koivula was Benn’s toughest fight to date.
Koivula began the first round on the offensive. The 35 year-old landed a couple of good shots to push Benn on the backfoot.
Benn, however, turned the fight round in the second session as he obliterated the Finnish boxer to win by stoppage.
If these sort of action packed fights continue, Benn will surely continue to headline many more cards.
In the aftermath, WBN caught up with Benn to look back on his performance.
“(It was the) first time headlining a show and it definitely lived up to the hype,” Benn exclusively told World Boxing News.
“If you notice, in the second round, I put my foot down a little bit more in the centre of the ring. I was jabbing to the body, jabbing to the head.
“I think first round he (Koivula) just thought he was going to take me out my stride. But I kept a cool calm head and listened to my trainer, adapted and done what I needed to do.”
As Koivula applied pressure and took the fight to Benn, the 22 year old boxer may become flustered in the past.
Clearly adapting over time, the same wouldn’t happen to Benn this time, however.
“No, it was all in control!” Benn said. “He came out swinging first round. Normally people work behind the jab early doors, he didn’t. He came out one, two, one, two and tried bashing me up. Little elbows in the face and all that stuff, trying to push me around.
“He did it in the first round but I was not concerned. There was no worry in my head at all. He caught me with some hard shots that didn’t hurt me.
“You know, second round I thought, I’m going to stand my ground. I knew I’d get him out of there.
“There was no worry there, no concern. He hit me with his best and I took it easy. I hit him and got him out of there.”
Koivula was regarded as Benn’s biggest test, having been at European level in the past. Benn feels he made a good statement with his win.
“He is a three time European challenger,” Benn explained. “He’s fought Samuel Vargas, went the distance with him and lost a split decision. So it’s a massive statement made.”
With the TV commentary at Sky Sports seemingly making the most of Benn’s previous frailties in the first round, ‘The Destroyer’ was asked if that annoyed him.
“Of course they did,” Benn said. “It was mainly my dad (Nigel Benn). My dad called me up straight after the fight and said, ‘oh the commentators are talking rubbish’. So I thought I’d watch it back and then you have some of the commentators saying he can’t box, he needs to stay on the back foot and all that.
“What do they expect when someone comes out swinging, what do they expect? You don’t go swimming, you don’t get wet.
“Let them say what they want to say, I knocked him out in the second round. I’m not 15-0, undefeated, 10 knockouts if I couldn’t box. I think the commentators were talking rubbish!”
For a young boxer with no real amateur background, Benn looks like he’ll be a popular fan-friendly fighter moving forward.
It seems only a matter of time before the welterweight is headlining another show.
Mick Kane is a Staff Writer to World Boxing News. Follow Mick on Twitter @MickKaneMMA