The improving Conor Benn impresses in his step-up fight against Sebastian Formella
IN the biggest test of his career to date, rising welterweight Conor Benn, the son of British boxing legend Nigel Benn, faced off against Sebastian Formella at the SSE Arena in Wembley. The tough German, who went the 12-round distance with former two-time world champion Shawn Porter just three months ago, was expected to provide Benn with a stern assessment. Yet although Formella managed to last the full course again, he failed to put a dent in Benn and was thoroughly beaten.
In what was his first appearance in 13 months, Benn connected with a couple of fierce left hooks to the midsection in the opening minute of the bout. Jabbing well from range and letting uppercuts go when in close, the Ilford fighter looked sharp in round one.
After a relatively tepid showing in the opener, Formella began to let his hands go more in the second. Benn, however, continued to pierce through his foe’s guard with fast, hard jabs, leaving the visitor nursing a bloody nose.
Employing impressive upper-body movement and shooting out his lead hand from below his waist, Benn’s left caused Formella further problems in the third. The Hamburg resident clipped Benn with a counter, but was then forced to swallow a crunching uppercut as the session came to a close.
The jab and the uppercut remained Benn’s favourite punches in the fourth, though a strong straight right from the dominant Englishman was the best shot of the round.
In the fifth, Benn parried Formella’s blows with his gloves, and bobbed and weaved away from danger, while supplementing his smart defensive skills with eye-catching variety when on the front foot.
Benn stormed out of the blocks with mean intentions in the sixth, unloading hooks from both fists. But the gritty Formella stuck at it and crowded his rival, which prevented Benn from having the space to get his jab going again.
The following frame saw Benn get back to his boxing. Targeting the head and body, he let his hands go in twos and threes, as a frustrated Formella attempted to increase the pace.
Despite being marked up below the right eye, Formella, 33, battled on in round eight. Nevertheless, the more eye-catching and varied strikes were still coming from Benn, who boxed with confidence and class in the ninth too. Switching his attacks both upstairs and down, an array of clean, heavy shots thumped into the game but outgunned Formella.
Determined to finish with a flourish, Benn was in command once more in the 10th and final round, as he capped off a mature and encouraging display against a solid opponent. Unsurprisingly, Benn was a wide winner on the scorecards. The official tallies read 100-91, 99-91 and 99-92.
Speaking after the contest, Benn called out his fellow unbeaten Brit Josh Kelly. “It’s the only fight I want,” the 24-year-old victor said. “I’m here for business. Every time I fight I get better. I’ve got loads of gears left. I’m not gonna blow everyone out. I wear them down, as I did tonight. I’ve had harder spars than that.”