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Conor Benn is the 2021 TSS Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

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  • Conor Benn is the 2021 TSS Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

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    By Arne K. Lang

    It’s award season here at The Sweet Science and this year we open with the Breakthrough Fighter of the Year. The nod goes to welterweight Conor Benn.

    According to Wikipedia, Benn grew up in the lap of luxury, having spent most of his youth living in a spacious home with a jacuzzi in his bedroom on the idyllic Spanish island of Mallorca. This was not the sort of environment conducive to spawning a hungry prizefighter, but Conor, the 25-year-old son of former two division world title-holder Nigel Benn, has boxing in his blood.

    Benn ended 2020 with a wide 10-round decision over Germany’s Sebastian Formella. That advanced his record to 17-0, but failed to dispel any questions about him as the durable but unexceptional Formella wasn’t expected to provide a stiff test. In his previous outing, the German had lost every round to Shawn Porter.

    Benn was still haunted by his showing against Cedric Peynaud in their first meeting in what was Conor’s twelfth pro fight. Benn rallied to win that 6-rounder after getting knocked down twice in the opening round, but he was marked-up at the finish and his opponent was a marginally skilled Frenchman with a 5-4-3 record.

    “To say that Benn looked poor tonight is being kind,” wrote Scott Gilfoid. “He was absolutely horrible…. His performance has to be viewed as a warning sign that he’s not destined to go far in the sport….”

    In 2021, Conor Benn made the pseudonymous Mr. Gilfoid eat his words.

    In Benn’s first outing of this year, back in March, he need only 80 seconds to demolish Samuel Vargas who brought a 31-6-1 record and was looked upon as a step up in class. Vargas had extended Amir Khan the 12-round distance on Khan’s turf in Manchester, but he couldn’t cope with Conor’s hand speed.

    In September, Benn won a 10-round decision over defensively-minded Adrian Granados, winning every round on one of the scorecards, and earlier this month he capped his breakthrough campaign with a brutal fourth-round knockout of former 140-pound world title-holder Chris Algieri who had formerly gone the distance with the likes of Manny Pacquiao.

    The knockout punch left Algieri in a crumpled heap, detached from his senses, but Benn’s “new maturity and calm throughout the contest” was almost as impressive. So said the noted British boxing writer Donald McRae writing in the Guardian.

    Conor Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn predicts that Benn will win a world title in 2022. He is reportedly eyeing a fight between Benn and Adrien Broner. If a deal is made, the fight may mark Conor’s U.S. debut. Broner’s criminal history may cause him to be barred by British customs officials.

    Looking down the road, a fight between Benn and Philadelphia’s welterweight phenom Jaron “Boots” Ennis has the potential to be an even bigger fight than Crawford vs. Spence if and when that match ever materializes.

    Honorable mentions:

    George Kambosos Jr.

    Montana Love

    Cody Crowley

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    George Kambosos Jr. beats Lopez who beat Loma. And Benn wins award over Kambosos? Huh. And what about Ugas?

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    • #3
      Still stuck in that cardboard box.

      He didn’t break through it.

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