Conor Benn = one or two fights behind Virgil Ortiz Jr

By Boxing News - 07/29/2021 - Comments

By William Lloyd: Conor Benn will be looking to take a step forward with his career against the battle-tested Adrian Granados this Saturday night in the headliner at Matchroom Fight Camp week 1 in Brentwood, Essex.

The unbeaten #9 WBA, #10 WBC, #13 IBF welterweight contender Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) is two fights behind highly ranked Vergil Ortiz Jr in progression as a professional, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

Eddie figures that if Benn can destroy Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) in a “demolition job,” as he did his last opponent Samuel Vargas, he’ll be ready for top 10 or top 15-level competition at 147.

Conor Benn trailing Vergil Ortiz Jr.

Hearn isn’t saying anything about wanting to put the 24-year-old Conor Benn in with #1 WBO Virgil Ortiz Jr. (17-0, 17 KOs). He’s just comparing the progression of the two fighters in terms of development.

Interestingly, Ortiz Jr is younger than Benn 23-years-old. Still, he’s already beaten former WBO 140-lb champion Maurice Hooker and is facing former world 147-lb title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas next month on August 14th on DAZN.

Hooker and Kavaliauskas are higher-level fighters than Benn’s opponent for this Saturday, 31-year-old Granados.

Hearn: Benn is 1 or 2 fights behind Vergil Ortiz Jr

“I really feel that Conor Benn is an all-improving fighter,” said Eddie Hearn to the DAZN Boxing Show. “I said to him the other day that he’s so excitable and so ferocious.

Image: Conor Benn = one or two fights behind Virgil Ortiz Jr

“He was here looking at Fight Camp. I said to him, ‘Look, Granados is no mug; he can fight. What he’ll do is he’ll throw with you, and you’ve got to be careful.’ ‘I’ll take this guy out early,’ you know how he [Benn] talks.

“The truth is, he’s still learning, but he’s incredibly exciting, and I think he’s very, very good. I think he’s one or two fights behind Vergil Ortiz in terms of progression.

“That shows really with Samuel Vargas fight. I know Vergil Ortiz did a good job on him.

“What was it? Seven rounds or whatever it was. Conor took him out in a round. It doesn’t [mean much], but now we got to Granados, so we kind of follow in suit,” Hearn said.

Benn won’t catch up to Vergil Ortiz Jr by beating second-tier welterweight Granados on Saturday. For Benn to get to where the 23–year-old Ortiz Jr is right now, he’s got to start bearing top contenders and former world champions the way he’s doing.

Tony Bellew mentioned this week to DAZN that he’d like to see Benn fight Josh Kelly, next. We already saw Kelly get stopped in six rounds by David Avanesyan last February. Benn can do better than that.

As a result of that loss, Kelly is no longer ranked in the top tier by any of the four sanctioning bodies at 147.

Benn needs to fight one of these guys next to catch up to where Vergil Ortiz Jr is now:

  • Abel Ramos
  • David Avanesyan
  • Daniyar Yeleussinov
  • Regis Prograis – *140
  • Kudratillo Abdukakhorov
  • Josesito Lopez
  • Jose Zepeda – *140-lb contender
  • Subriel Matias
  • Mario Barrios
  • Viktor Postol
  • Arnold Barboza
  • Kell Brook

Is Benn ready for tough competition?

“I like the way they’re [Golden Boy Promotions] is progressing Vergil Ortiz,” Hearn continued. “I think the [Egidijus] Kavaliauskas is a good fight for him and a good opponent.

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“I think we [Conor Benn] are one or two fights behind that progression. A lot will be, and a lot will depend on how he [Benn] deals with Granados on Saturday.

“If he does another demolition job, you have to say that this guy is ready for some top 10 and top 15 guys,” said Hearn.

Benn is ready for top-tier competition right now, but it would need to be against guys that aren’t too dangerous. For example, Keith Thurman is surprisingly ranked 13 by the WBA, and Kell Brook at #15 by the WBC.

Those would be very tough fights for Benn, and I’m not certain he would emerge as the winner in either of those contests.

Hearn previews Fight Camp week 1 card

“There are so many great fights on this card,” said Hearn about this Saturday’s July 31st Matchroom Fight Camp card headlined by Benn vs. Granados.

Image: Conor Benn = one or two fights behind Virgil Ortiz Jr

“You mentioned Week 1 and Week 3. Week 2 is the domestic world championship fight, the IBF featherweight world title between Kid Galahad and Jazza Dickens.

“That’s a really important fight for the division, but on the undercard as well. This Saturday, you’ve got so many strange fights that have popped up like Can Xu against Leigh Wood, right?

“Can Xu or Xu Can, whoever way you want to call him, is one of the most fearsome volume punchers in boxing today, taking on one of the most fearsome volume punchers in boxing today, taking Leigh Wood, who can really punch from Nottingham.

“Avni Yildirim is fighting Jack Cullen out of nowhere. Another great fight on Saturday is Tommy McCarthy taking on Chris Billiam-Smith, a British Commonwealth European championships as well. There are so many fights.

“I do think Week 1, as you would expect when we kick-off, is probably the strongest of the three, but all three is fantastic. As you said, the energy here is great.

“People want to tune in and see what Matchroom is doing. Obviously, we’ve built a great position here in the UK market. Everyone is a bit curious,” Hearn said.

WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Can Xu vs. Leigh Wood may steal the show this Saturday night from the main event between Benn and Granados.

Xu is an exciting fighter who unloads with nonstop punching, and his opponent Wood has heavy hands. We could see Xu’s chin tested in this fight.

A lot of drama at Matchroom Fight Camp

“We’re doing the production ourselves. We’ve got fans as well. We’re going to down this Saturday at Fight Camp. Dillian [Whyte] is training in Portugal right now and won’t be here.

“It’s an arena [Matchroom Fight Camp] that really throws up a lot of drama because it’s so unique. Fighters are so used to walking out at the O2 [in London] or at Madison Square Garden [in New York].

“When you walk out here, and the fireworks are going off, and you look outside, and you can see London.

“You’re in the open air, and you’ve got trees. It’s just strange. It always throws up excitement, drama, upset, and it’s going to be a brilliant three weeks.

“We can’t wait to get cracking on DAZN,” said Hearn about this Saturday, July 31st Fight Camp Week 1 at Brentwood, Essex.

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