Conor Benn showed that he has the talent to go places in the professional game, as he recorded a landslide points win over Sebastien Formella at the SSE Arena, Wembley. He was taken the full ten rounds for the first time, but this was a huge step up for the 24-year-old.
It was an impressive display by Benn, who started like a whirlwind, taking the fight completely away from Formella in the opening four rounds. He looked a completely changed fighter from the wild youngster of his early professional career, switching well from head to body, being patient and picking his shots well. Formella, was fit, tough and brave. He had gone the distance with Shawn Porter in his last fight, but this was a tougher night for him.
It extended Benn’s unbeaten record to 17, but the son of former British boxing great Nigel Benn now looks ready to challenge for meaningful titles.
“I could have done more than that, I’ve had harder spars than that,” Benn said. “I’ve just been training hard and every time I get better. You lot think I am mucking about when I say I am working hard, but it’s not all fun and games any more. It’s business.
“I hit him with a straight one-two in round nine and I thought ‘this geezer is tough’. You heard him wincing when I was hitting him to the body, but Ia m not going to blow everyone out, I wear them down, exactly what I did tonight.
“I’ve still got loads of gears left. I went through more gears with [Cedrick] Peynaud. When I am bang in trouble, that’s when you will see the best of me. I was on top there and I am not an on top fighter, I fight better when I am not on top. When the going really gets tough for me, that’s when you will really see me at it.”
Benn made a fast start, leading off and getting through with a sharp left hook in the first round, while Formella looked tentative. He then landed a big left hook at the start on the second and, while the German came forward more, Ben was walking through his punches and landing better one, bloodying his nose in the process.
Things were not going well for Formella, a former IBO champion, who was then hurt by an elbow in the third round, referee Steve Gray giving him time to recover and warning Benn. Later in the round, the German did get Benn to walk onto a sharp, short right, his best punch to date.
Formella go on the front foot in the fourth, but Benn was landing the better shots and caught Formella cleanly with a hard straight right near the end of the round. The fifth was another dominant one by Benn, who then stepped up the pace at the start of the sixth, although Formella got close and crowded, forcing Benn backwards for the first time.
Over the next two rounds, Formella completely emptied the tank as he stood with Benn. He had success in the seventh, but Benn was teeing off of Formella in the ninth round as Formella took a bunch of clean punches. But Formella saw it out.
Bob Williams scored it 100-91, while Ian John-Lewis had it 99-91 and Victor Loughlin 99-92.
“You’ve got all these fighters calling me out, I am only interested in one fight and that’s Josh Kelly,” Benn said. “You can forget all these other bods, all these other people calling me out because they have got loads of Instagram followers. I don’t care. They ain’t benefitted me, so I don’t want it. The only big domestic I want is Kelly.
“And as for people saying I am scared and all that. Stop talking rubbish. Do I look like a scared fighter? Nah.
“They should have take their chance when they could. My stock’s on the up and it isn’t coming down any time soon.”