Kaisee Benjamin takes to chess outside of the ring ahead of Nov 13 clash
Unbeaten Birmingham ace Kaisee Benjamin is used to staying one step ahead of his opponents, but not just in the boxing ring.
Benjamin features on Hennessy Sports’ big show at the Coventry Skydome Arena on Saturday 13th November headlined by Shakan Pitters’ WBC Silver Light-Heavyweight title challenge against Reece Cartwright; River Wilson-Bent’s challenge for the Vacant English Middleweight title against Tyler Denny and Aaron McKenna in championship action, live and free on Channel 5.
Hot shot Benjamin firmly believes another of his favourite one-on-one sports will help him keep the rest of the super-lightweight division in check now.
Benjamin is the latest pugilist to reveal his other passion… chess.
Anthony Joshua, Terence Crawford and Oleksandr Usyk are well-known fans of ancient board game, and the Birmingham body shot sensation wants to make the same move as all three and be crowned a world champion.
The 26-year-old believes that playing the ultimate cerebral sport will make him an even better fighter in the ring now that he has added extra power to his arsenal with back-to-back stoppages in his last fights.
“I wouldn’t say I am a Grandmaster, but I do love chess,” he revealed.
“There’s no doubt it makes you a smarter person and an even smarter fighter – if you’re good at it.
“It doesn’t really give you a high IQ just like that, but what it does do is get you to think one, two, three steps ahead. That’s the name of the game.
“The more steps ahead you are, the less chance your opponent has. You can outsmart them and then trap them. You can see why a lot of boxers play it.”
The two sports have more similarities for Benjamin to contend with, though.
He is 15 fights into his professional career and had hoped to have more than the Midlands Area belt to his name having turned pro four years ago.
A new nutritional approach has enabled him to start a new chapter down in a new weight class and under the guidance of trainer Jon Pegg, is hoping it will be easier to test himself in the ring than on the chequered board.
“I don’t play chess all the time. I can’t find anyone to play,” he continued.
“I do have a chess app on my phone though and a chess board at home, of course. It’s just difficult to find someone to play against.
“There’s no-one to play in my house. I tried to teach my girlfriend how to play it, but she can’t get the hang of it.
“I’ve not played Jon yet. It sounds like, right now, that he’d beat me, but I’d like to play him and see where I am at.
“It’s the same with boxing. No-one wants to fight me, but I am hoping that down super-lightweight I will get more fights, more opportunities. I can’t wait.”
Benjamin doesn’t sport a nickname like most other fighters and is too modest to bring chess into the equation and be known as Kaisee ‘Grandmaster’ Benjamin.
He may never become the best chess player on the planet, but certainly sees it as a smart move to help him fulfil the ambition that drives him on.
“I want to become a world champion. That is everyone’s dream, and I am no different and will do it.
“Now I need to start taking steps up. I did think I would have more belts to my name by now, be it domestic or international and that is what I need to do.
“You will see a new me on November 13.”