Benn celebrates victory

Credit:  Mark Robinson

Rising British welterweight Conor Benn stepped up his game against durable German opponent Sebastian Formella in a dominant victory at Wembley Arena on Saturday night, but pledged that he "will be a completely different fighter in a year’s time".

The headliner on promoter Eddie Hearn’s behind-closed-doors event is still in many ways a raw novice, yet his transparency over the need for improvements shows great maturity from a 24-year-old, who set to become a father for the first time early next year.

Benn is still a novice in many ways – thirty-odd amateur fights in farm sheds in Australia and now 67 rounds as an unbeaten professional in  17 contests – but the desire and DNA of his father, the original ‘Dark Destroyer’ Nigel Benn, is clearly there.

Speaking to Telegraph Sport, Benn explained: "It was a good performance last night. I have had harder spars than that in this camp. I didn’t really come out of first or second gear. You will see the best out of me when the going gets tough, and people get on top of me. That’s when you will see me at my best."

"But where from here ? The likes of Samuel Vargas or some of the top Americans are still on the cards, and then hopefully a big domestic showdown with Josh Kelly this time next year, provided he gets through David Avanesyan. That would be a massive fight and I pray to God that he gets through Avanesyan. It takes two to tango. And, you know, that’s a fight I’ve been looking forward to, one the public have been demanding for a while now.

"You’ve seen what I’ve been working on behind closed doors and by this time next year I’ll be a completely different fighter again."

Most pleasing was that Benn used his jab effectively, and showed relentless drive round after round as he took the battle to Formella, winning by a landslide 100-91, 99-91 and 99-92 on the judges’ cards. Alternating his attacks from head to body, and moving cleverly, his tough rival was unable to match Benn’s explosive hand speed and vicious attacks. The barometer of this success can be measured against an opponent who went 12 rounds last time out and lost on points against two-time welterweight world champion Shawn Porter.

"People will always question me because of my vulnerability," Benn added. "I’m hungry like I came from nothing. I fight like a starving man. You don’t need to come form poverty, come from having nothing, to be a great fighter. I have a great life. I live such a blessed life, but I still fight like a starving man because of that championship mindset, that hunger and will to win."

Elsewhere, Hearn confirmed that the Alamodome in Texas – with a crowd – will host the WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith’s defence against four division belt-holder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on December 19.