Top welterweight prospect Conor Benn ready to make an impact in 2022

Development is key for young fighters, especially as their craft continues to grow. Sometimes it takes small steps to show how far you’ve come compared to where you started.

Conor Benn believes he’s ready to be the center of attention, and opportunities may come sooner than you think.

Welterweight is one of the strongest divisions in boxing, with champions like Yordenis Ugas, Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, and young prospects moving up the ladder. Benn, the 20-0 WBA continental welterweight champion, believes he is ready to take on those elite fighters.

“I don’t think I need a couple more fights, if Ugas offered me then I would take that fight,” Benn he told ESPN. “I know what I am capable of and what I have been doing in the ring shows it. You have to remember that it is not just that I have beaten these opponents that I have, but the ease and how I am beating these opponents.” . “

“When you do the comparisons to the world champions who fought before me and I’m dealing with them better than they are, so you can use that as a benchmark. I like my chances against any of them. I’ve defended my title.” six times now and I was ranked in the top five before the Algieri fight so I should soon be in the top three with most of the governing bodies. “

The son of former champion Nigel Benn, Conor, 25, made his professional debut in 2016. Known for his explosive knockout power, 13 of his 20 victories have been by KO. The competition Benn has faced has increased in quality over time: Sebastián Formella, Samuel Vargas and Adrián Granados. In his last fight last December, Benn demolished Chris Algieri with a fourth round knockout.

When it comes to prospect status, Benn faces stiff competition outside of champions. There’s Jaron “Boots” Ennis, ranked high in the welterweight division by BoxRec and The Ring. He is 28-0 with a no-contest to his name and has 26 KO victories.

There’s also knockout king Vergil Ortiz Jr., the WBO international welterweight champion. His last two fights have been against former champions and contenders; Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. The latter faced Crawford for the WBO title in 2019. Ortiz’s 18 victories have been by KO.

There are plenty of options for Benn, and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has ideas about who he might face. That includes Hooker and other former champions, like Adrien Broner. The controversial former WBC lightweight and WBA welterweight champion “retired” in 2019 after losing to Manny Pacquiao, but returned in February 2021 and defeated Jovanie Santiago.

“Broner would like a fight sooner because he’s on a new serious crusade where he wants to have one last race,” Hearn said. “He says he’s ready for Conor Benn, but he wants to fight in March if possible. If not two names we like are Robert Guerrero and Maurice Hooker in The O2 [in London]. Most likely it is one of those three names. “

Guerrero last fought in August, beating Victor Ortiz by unanimous decision. He is a former IBF Featherweight Champion and Interim WBC Welterweight Champion. Competing against a veteran, regardless of their current status, can help shape a fighter, something Hearn and Benn believe can come out of these matchups.

Benn believes his boxing IQ has improved and while injuries have been a problem in the past, the prospect believes now is the time to show what he can do, no matter who the opponent is.