Conor Benn will defy legendary father Nigel by fighting behind-closed-doors against Sebastian Formella at Wembley Arena

CONOR BENN will defy legendary fighting father Nigel by risking his promising young career in a behind-closed-doors battle on Saturday.

The 23-year-old welterweight was supposed to continue his learning on the pay-per-view undercard of Dillian Whyte’s rematch with Alexander Povetkin this weekend.


But, when the Russian was KOed with Covid-19, the card was placed on standard Sky Sports and Benn vs Sebastian Formella was elevated to the main event.

Benn inherited a huge fanbase from his two-weight hero dad but none of them will be ringside at Wembley on Saturday as the Tony Sims-trained prospect aims to go 17-0.

The acid test – in silent and unforgiving surroundings – will pose new problems for the fans’ favourite that his old man did not think were worth risk, as fighters are losing around 40 per cent of their purses while fans are locked out.

Benn told SunSport: “At the start of lockdown I did say that I would not fight behind closed doors and I was criticised.

"But the criticism came from people who have never got in a ring and risked their life and health for money.

“I have been out of the ring for a year but used the time to learn so much in the gym and improve so why shouldn’t I sit tight and wait for the opportunity I have earned?

“I copped some flak because I have been honest and said ‘this is prize fighting, I am worth more’.

“I didn’t want to fight behind closed doors and my dad really didn’t want me to. I was slightly open to it but dad was adamant, no matter what was offered to me.”

The second lockdown means even mega-money heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are taking massive pay cuts to stay active.

So Benn has bitten the bullet and lined himself up a cracker of a contest against a 22-1 German, whose only defeat came against two-time 10st 7lbs champ Shawn Porter.

The youngster is getting called out all over social media by fighters with much more experience and is still yet to land a domestic title but he is keeping his heavy hands and fast feet on the ground.

"This time next year I will be British and Commonwealth world champion and that is all that is on my horizon right now.” Benn said.

“I am just desperate to reach my full potential.

"I don’t go around saying I am going to be a world champion, I just want to get the absolute maximum out of myself.

“There are a lot of deluded fighters out there and I don’t want to sound like them.”

  • Connor Benn has just signed an exclusive deal with leading fight sports equipment and apparel brand Everlast. Go to www.sportsdirect.com/everlast to view the full range.co

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