Conor Benn re-signs with Matchroom Boxing for 2 years
By Marcus Richardson: Welterweight prospect Conor Benn (11-0, 8 KOs) has signed a new 2-year contract with Matchroom Boxing in the UK. The 21-year-old Benn will be fighting next on April 21 on Sky Sports at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
Matchroom is taking a risk in signing Benn, who may not pan out by ever making the leap to world class competition. Certainly if Benn’s last fight against Cedrick Peynaud (5-5-3, 3 KOs) is any indication of what his limits are as a fighter, it suggests that he’s never going to be good enough to make it to the first level of boxing. Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn can still sell tickets with Benn’s name added to his cards in the UK, as he’s the son of a famous British fighter Nigel Benn. Conor Benn doesn’t have the speed, power or the athletic ability of his father Nigel, but he does have his last name and that could help Hearn sell tickets for his fight cards.
The 21-year-old Conor Benn was knocked down 2 times in his last fight against 31-year-old journeyman Peynaud on December 13 at the York Hall in Bethnal Green. Benn won a close 6 round points decision over the fighter from France, but he was dropped twice in round 1. Benn came back in the later rounds to knock Peynaud down in rounds 5 and 6. Benn finished strong, but he was taking clean hits until the very end. Peynaud is not a big puncher, and he shouldn’t have been able to drop Benn so easily in the fight. Benn wants a rematch with Peynaud so he can show the boxing public that his off performance was just a fluke.
It might not be a good idea for Hearn to make that fight right now, because it could destroy Benn’s confidence entirely if he has to struggle to win a second fight. Benn will probably win, but it won’t be easy because Reynaud has decent offensive skills, and he’s completely wide open defense. Benn rushes his opponents in the same that his father did, but he doesn’t have the same kind of speed and power. Nigel was a special fighter. There aren’t too many guys that come along in the sport of boxing with that kind of talent. Unfortunately for Conor, he doesn’t possess his father’s talent. He has some of his talent, but not enough to be world class. That was shown clearly with the way Conor Benn had to labor to defeat a very beatable fighter in Peynaud.
Benn is still unbeaten at 11-0, so Hearn can continue to promote him as an undefeated fighter, and try and hype him as much as possible in order to help sell tickets to his Matchroom cards. Benn will be fighting on the undercard of Amir Khan’s comeback fight against Phil Lo Greco on April 21 on Sky Sports at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Benn’s opponent is still being sorted out.
“I’m delighted to have signed a new deal with Eddie and Matchroom Boxing,” said Benn to skysports.com. “I can’t wait to get back out in action on the Khan undercard. I’m still a work in progress. The Peynaud fight was a real learning curve but there was a lot of things that went wrong in camp to the last fight, I had a severe skin reaction out in New York for starters. A rematch is due, he’s deserved that and I’m sure it’ll happen this year, and I’ll win it convincingly.”
Benn will probably beat Peynaud in the rematch, but it likely won’t be an impressive victory. Benn doesn’t have that kind of talent. He needs to focus on improving his boxing skills, and look to slug less. Benn isn’t a huge puncher. He’s a volume thrower, and guys like that tend to get hit a lot once they start fighting opposition that have a chin and some ability to box. Peynaud has a chin, and more than enough power to hurt Benn repeatedly in the early going. It was lucky for Benn that he made it out of the round.
Hearn says Benn will start challenging for titles in 2018. This is obviously the domestic level belts that Benn will be targeting. Hearn would be making a mistake if he had Benn challenge for the British or the European welterweight title. Benn lacks the experience and talent to compete for those belts. Hearn should take his time with Benn to have him learn his trade for the next 4 to 6 years before he tries to put him at the world class level.
Right now, Benn has too many holes in his defense and too many flaws with the way he fights for him to compete against world class level opposition. Even someone like Frankie Gavin would be a nightmare for Benn. Gavin has so much experience. Benn would look like a novice if Hearn made the mistake of putting him in with Gavin or even Sam Eggington. Bradley Skeete would make Benn look really bad. Hopefully, Hearn understands the limitations the 21-year-old Benn has so he doesn’t ruin his confidence completely by putting him in with another fighter that has a little talent for his current skill level. A rematch against Peynaud would not be a good idea right now for Benn. Hearn should wait another 2 years before he puts Benn back in with Peynaud, because he might get knocked out the second time around. The Frenchman was the smarter of the 2, and he was catching Benn continually with shots for the entire fight. It wasn’t just round 1 in which Peynaud was nailing Benn. He was hitting the entire fight.
Hearn likely wouldn’t bother re-signing Benn if not for his famous father Nigel. It’s too much of a long term building process with Conor, and he may not ever pan out. Hearn has money to sign the very best fighters from the UK, and he doesn’t need to waste time and money on raw project fighters that require years of development like Benn. It’ll be interesting to see if Hearn cuts Benn loose after his 2-year contract with Matchroom expires or if he keeps extending his contract.
”2018 is the year he will begin challenging for titles and Sky Sports viewers are guaranteed action when he steps into the ring,” Hearn said to skysports.com about Conor Benn.