Conor Benn aims to continue his steady progression from prospect to contender.
The second-generation boxer takes his next step up in class, as he faces Canada’s Samuel Vargas in a scheduled 10-round regional welterweight title fight. Benn and Vargas both made weight for their main event, which takes place Saturday evening live on Sky Sports in the U.K. and DAZN in the U.S. from Copper Box Arena in Hackney Wick, London, England.
Benn (17-0, 11KOs) weighed a ripped 146 ¾ pounds, while Vargas tipped the scale at a fight-ready 146.4 pounds.
Ilford’s Benn continues to live up to the lofty expectations that come with being the son of Nigel Benn, a wildly popular former two-division champion who was an integral part of the 1990s British boxing scene. The 24-year-old proved his worth in a lopsided points win over former IBO welterweight titlist Sebastian Formella last November.
Vargas (31-6-2, 14KOs) was last seen in a 7th round stoppage loss to rising welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. (17-0, 17KOs) last July in Indio, California. The 31-year-old from Toronto by way of Bogota, Colombia is also known for his valiant in defeat efforts versus former titlists Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Luis Collazo, having floored Khan in their Sept. 2018 bout.
The show also includes two major title fights.
Savannah Marshall (9-0, 7KOs) attempts the first defense of her WBO middleweight crown as she faces Sweden’s Maria Lindberg (19-6-2, 10KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout.
Marshall weighed 159.4 pounds for her first fight since winning the belt in a 7th round stoppage of Hannah Rankin last October. Lindberg—a late replacement for Femke Hermans (COVID)—weighed 154.9 pounds for the bout, her first since Dec. 2019.
The well-credentialed Marshall represented Great Britain in the 2012 London and 2012 Rio Olympics. The 29-year-old Brit remains best known as the only boxer—pro or amateur—to hang a loss on Claressa Shields, a two-time Olympic Gold medalist, three-division world champion and reigning pound-for-pound queen.
Shannon Courtenay and Ebanie Bridges used the build-up to their vacant WBA bantamweight title fight into a well-publicized grudge match.
Courtenay (6-1, 3KOs) weighed 117.8 pounds for the bout, while Australia’s Bridges (5-0, 2KOs) weighed 117 pounds. Both enter their first career title fight, Bridges accepting the opportunity as a replacement for Rachel Ball who tested positive for COVID. Ball defeated Courtenay last summer and is expected to face the winner of Saturday’s title contest.
Below are the weights for the rest of the undercard.
Kash Farooq (14-1, 6KOs), Glasgow, 117 pounds vs. Alexander Espinoza (20-2-2, KOs), Managua, 117 ½ pounds—10 rounds, bantamweight
Nick Campbell (pro debut) Jersey, England, 248 ½ pounds vs. Petr Frohlich (2-30-1, 1KO), Duchcov, Czech Republic, 226.4 pounds—6 rounds, heavyweight
John Hedges (1-0, 0KOs), Takeley, England, 177.1 pounds vs. Stank Jermelic (0-5, 0KOs), Split, Croatia, 174 ¼ pounds—4 rounds, light heavyweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox