Prograis vs Taylor: Where does Conor Benn go next?

22 October 2019, 16:08 | Updated: 23 October 2019, 06:26

Conor Benn was always up against it when beginning his professional crusade back in 2016. The son of Nigel Benn, one of British boxing’s most memorable warriors and someone who is returning to the ring later this year, Conor had huge shoes to fill before even throwing his first jab.

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Now, in his fourth year as a professional, the time to prove himself is fast approaching and he has another outing this Saturday night on the undercard of Regis Prograis' huge unification clash with Scotland's Josh Taylor at The O2 in London, a venue he's very much acquainted with.

"The O2 is home for me," declared Benn exclusively to Sky Sports. "I really do feel like that's home. Anyone who wants to come and have it with me there, it's a bit of pride on the line. That's where I had my debut, that's where I won my first title. I feel like I want to enjoy it more. The pressure clouds it a bit, but then I'm going to look back in a few years' time and be like 'I wish I enjoyed that moment a bit more'."

Although turning pro without the vested experience possessed by the bulk of his peers, Benn has had to make up for such shortcomings by training diligently inside Tony Sims' congested Essex gym. A fight establishment made up of a variety of champions, Benn is never short of sparring options and having Ricky Burns, a veteran of the fight scene with over 50 fights, to call on has had a massive impact on Benn acquiring a fast education inside the squared circle.

"It's good for him," stated Benn with a loud laugh. "I got filled in this morning before coming here, so as far as it goes for being good for me, not really! He buzzed me up about three times today and I'm thinking 'leave it out'.

"Training alongside a three-weight world champion, he reminds me of my dad in a way of his focus and drive, and obsessiveness as to why he was three-weight world champion. Me seeing how focused my dad is now and has been. Got blinkers on. That's why they are legends."

Closing in on the stage of his career that is intended to provide him with meaningful fights, one name remains associated with Benn as a possible opponent and that's Sunderland's Josh Kelly.

The 2016 Olympian raced through the inaugural phase of his professional infancy, but his last few performances, most notably a draw with underrated American Ray Robinson, have perhaps slowed down the hype that previously accompanied his earlier outings. Benn has no problem taking on Kelly in 2020.

"There's not bad blood, it just is… I don't even know what to say. Just look at our careers. His career sums him up, my career sums me up. I got the W against that Frenchman, Cedrick Peynaud, and I didn't even need to have the rematch. I chose to have the rematch, and I done it without injury.

"As far as it goes, with me showing what sort of fighter I am, that's the fighter I am. I mean he ain't going to catch me pulling out of no fight. As I said, anyone they put in front of me, I'm going in there and I'm going in there to do one job only - and that's lay them out."

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