Nigel Benn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nigel Benn
Real nameNigel Gregory Benn
Nickname(s)The Dark Destroyer
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Reach73 in (185 cm)
Born (1964-01-22) 22 January 1964 (age 57)
Ilford, East London, England
Boxing record
Total fights48
Wins by KO35

Nigel Gregory Benn (born 22 January 1964) is a British former professional boxer who competed from 1987 to 1996. He held world championships in two weight classes, including the WBO middleweight title in 1990, and the WBC super-middleweight title from 1992 to 1996. Regionally he held the Commonwealth middleweight title from 1988 to 1989. Nicknamed "The Dark Destroyer" for his formidable punching power and aggressive fighting style, he retired with an 83.3% knockout-to-win ratio.

Early years and amateur career[edit]

Benn was born in Ilford, East London, on 22 January 1964. Benn joined the Army at the age of 18 and was stationed in West Germany for three years, then Northern Ireland for eighteen months (Royal Fusiliers) After leaving the army Benn joined West Ham Amateur Boxing Club. Nigel’s first competitive bout saw him suffer his worst ever beating. It was outside KIKO’s nightclub in pontefract when the so called ‘Dark Destroyer’ met his self proclaimed toughest opponent at 18. Local bare knuckle champion Karl ‘The Equalizer’ Smith pummelled Benn into submission. Benn later said he thought he was surrounded, and claims never to have fully recovered.

Amateur accomplishments[edit]

  • 1986 Amateur Boxing Association Middleweight Champion. (beat Rod Douglas in final)

Professional career[edit]

Benn turned professional in 1987 and began a streak of 22 consecutive knockout wins. This ensured a rapid rise through the professional ranks and during this time, Benn won the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title with a second round win over Abdul Umaru, at Alexandra Pavilion on 20 April 1988.

At 22-0 (22 KOs), Benn defended his Commonwealth title against Michael Watson in a heavily hyped bout in May 1989 at Finsbury Park, London. The fight even appeared on national television in the US. Throwing virtually nothing but hooks, Benn repeatedly failed to get through Watson's tight guard, and gradually tired whilst being stunned numerous times himself.

In the sixth round, Watson knocked Benn down with a jab and Benn was counted out as he rose to his feet.

His next fight, against Jorge Amparo in Atlantic City, U.S., was his first fight abroad and also the first to last the full distance, with Benn winning a 10-round decision.

WBO middleweight champion[edit]

After two more wins, against Sanderline Williams and Jose Quinones, Benn fought WBO middleweight title holder Doug DeWitt of the US in Atlantic City. Benn was knocked down in round two, but came back to knock DeWitt down in round three, then score three knockdowns in round eight to win the title.

His first defence came in August 1990 against former WBC champion Iran Barkley, whom he knocked down three times and stopped on the three-knockdown rule at the end of the first round. Benn returned to the UK and met British rival Chris Eubank. They fought in Birmingham on 18 November 1990. Benn lost his title to Eubank when the referee stopped the fight in the ninth round after a Technical knockout finish.

WBC super-middleweight champion[edit]

Benn then went on a winning streak of six fights leading up to another world title challenge. In 1991, he beat Marvin Hagler's half brother, Robbie Sims, by a knockout in round seven, followed by a close, disputed decision win against Thulani Malinga, and a one-punch KO victory against Dan Sherry.

On 10 October 1992, Benn challenged Mauro Galvano for the WBC super-middleweight title in Palaghiaccio de Marino, Marino, Lazio, Italy. After a controversial dispute at ringside over the official result after Galvano was unable to continue due to a severe cut, Benn was declared the winner and won the title by technical decision RTD in the third round.

While still a dangerous, and damaging puncher, Benn's move to the higher weight limit saw him refine his fight strategy and adopt a more considered approach. The aggression remained but he relied less on one punch knockout power and became a more effective, and adaptable fighter.[citation needed] He defended his title against fellow Britons Nicky Piper and Lou Gent, and a rematch victory over Mauro Galvano, before again Chris Eubank, who was now WBO super-middleweight champion, in a unification bout on 9 October 1993. The bout ended in a draw, with both fighters retaining their respective titles. Benn defended his title twice more in 1994 with unanimous decisions against Henry Wharton and Juan Carlos Giminez Ferreyra.

Benn vs McClellan[edit]

In February 1995, Benn defended his 168 lb title against WBC middleweight champion Gerald McClellan in a highly anticipated bout billed as "Sudden Impact". Going into the fight with Benn, McClellan had won his last 21 fights, the last 14 of those by knockout, and 13 of those 14 knockouts had come in Rounds 1, 2 or 3. McClellan had twice defeated one of the hardest punchers of all time in Julian Jackson, with knockouts in Round 5 and Round 1 respectively. McClellan had also never gone beyond Round 8 in any previous fight in his career, insisting that he rarely needed more than three rounds to defeat his opponents.

Benn was knocked through the ropes as McClellan dominated Round 1, but Benn hung on to survive the first round and fought his way back into the contest which developed into a brutal war. Benn was in control of the momentum of the fight around Rounds 4–6 as McClellan struggled to keep his gumshield in his mouth. A desperate McClellan struck back in Rounds 7 and 8, and Benn was knocked down again in the eighth, but an exhausted and drained McClellan was unable to follow up and Benn rallied to stop McClellan in Round 10, as McClellan took a knee and was counted out by the referee. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had McClellan ahead and one had the fight even, although those scorecards are from the end of Round 9, and therefore not counting the two knockdowns Benn scored on McClellan in the tenth.

McClellan was severely injured as a result of the fight. After collapsing in his corner after the fight had finished, McClellan was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had developed a blood clot on the brain. To this day McClellan suffers from bad short-term memory problems, is almost completely blind, partially deaf, and uses a wheelchair, although he has regained some movement and some of his hearing since 1995, having been 80% deaf in 1995 and he can now walk with a cane. In 2007, McClellan, his sister and children attended a benefit dinner organised and hosted by Benn to help McClellan with his ongoing medical expenses.

After his brutal war with McClellan, Benn had two more successful title defences, with wins against future WBC title-holder Vincenzo Nardiello and against American Danny Perez, before Benn then lost his title to Malinga in 1996.

Benn vs Collins I and II[edit]

In 1996, Benn attempted to take the WBO super-middleweight title twice from Steve Collins but failed in both attempts: losing by TKO in Round 4 . Benn sustained an ankle injury and retired from boxing following his second loss to Collins in November, with his corner having retired Benn on his stool at the end of Round 6.

Return from retirement[edit]

On 24 September 2019, Benn announced that he would be returning to boxing at the age of 55, 23 years after his last fight, saying that he wanted "closure" after the unsatisfactory end to his boxing career in 1996. Benn was set to fight former WBC super-middleweight world champion Sakio Bika (34-7-3) on 23 November 2019. The British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the fight, which instead was to be sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority.[1] The fight was subsequently called off after Benn suffered a shoulder injury in sparring. A disappointed Benn also confirmed that he was abandoning his planned boxing comeback.[2]

Life after boxing[edit]

After his professional boxing career, Benn became a DJ.

He later appeared in the first series of the ITV reality TV show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.

Benn's autobiography, published in 2001, is called Dark Destroyer.

Benn left the UK after he was sent a gold bullet with his name inscribed on it. For many years, a close friend of Benns' had been Essex drug lord Tony Tucker who was shot dead in 1996 in the infamous "Range Rover murders" crime.

Since the early 21st century, Benn has developed a strong Christian faith, becoming a born-again Christian. Benn now lives with his family in Sydney, Australia, where he has been studying theology, sports coaching and sports development. He is still active in the international boxing scene mentoring, developing and training both amateur and professional boxers in Australia.

Benn was entered into the World Boxing Council (WBC) Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013 and was honoured alongside fellow Brit Joe Calzaghe as the WBC's greatest super middleweight champion in history. His image is now enshrined upon the sixth generation WBC super middleweight belt.[3][4]

Benn works with youth at risk in Blacktown, NSW[5] and is dedicated to his charity work. He is an ambassador to the New South Wales Police Citizens Youth Club's (PCYC)[6] and is an advocate for healthy living.[3] Benn is also a Patron of the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, a UK children's charity based in the North West of England, helping children with life-threatening conditions and their families.

Benn ran the 2013 City to Surf to raise funds for the most underfunded PCYC gym in Redfern, Sydney[7] and has undertaken many fund raisers for the charity since improving the boxing facilities in the most impoverished areas of Sydney. Benn regularly assists Christian groups, counselling individuals suffering from addiction[8] and along with wife Carolyne counsels couples who are facing marriage issues.

One of Benn's sons, Conor Benn, turned professional in 2016 and is currently fighting at welterweight.[9] Another son, Harley,[10] turned professional in 2017. Harley currently has a record of 6–1, having lost to Lee Hallett (on 18 May 2019).[11]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
48 fights 42 wins 5 losses
By knockout 35 4
By decision 7 1
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
48 Loss 42–5–1 Republic of Ireland Steve Collins RTD 6 (12), 3:00 9 Nov 1996 United Kingdom NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England For WBO super-middleweight title
47 Loss 42–4–1 Republic of Ireland Steve Collins TKO 4 (12), 2:44 6 Jul 1996 United Kingdom NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England For WBO super-middleweight title
46 Loss 42–3–1 South Africa Thulani Malinga SD 12 2 Mar 1996 United Kingdom Telewest Arena, Newcastle, England Lost WBC super-middleweight title
45 Win 42–2–1 United States Danny Perez TKO 7 (12), 2:33 2 Sep 1995 United Kingdom Wembley Stadium, London, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
44 Win 41–2–1 Italy Vincenzo Nardiello TKO 8 (12), 1:43 22 Jul 1995 United Kingdom London Arena, London, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
43 Win 40–2–1 United States Gerald McClellan KO 10 (12), 1:46 25 Feb 1995 United Kingdom London Arena, London, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
42 Win 39–2–1 Paraguay Juan Carlos Giménez Ferreyra UD 12 10 Sep 1994 United Kingdom National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
41 Win 38–2–1 United Kingdom Henry Wharton UD 12 26 Feb 1994 United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
40 Draw 37–2–1 United Kingdom Chris Eubank SD 12 9 Oct 1993 United Kingdom Old Trafford, Manchester, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title;
For WBO super-middleweight title
39 Win 37–2 United Kingdom Lou Gent TKO 4 (12), 0:35 26 Jun 1993 United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
38 win 36–2 Italy Mauro Galvano UD 12 6 Mar 1993 United Kingdom Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBC super-middleweight title
37 Win 35–2 United Kingdom Nicky Piper TKO 11 (12), 1:44 12 Dec 1992 United Kingdom Alexandra Pavilion, London, England Retained WBC super-middleweight title
36 Win 34–2 Italy Mauro Galvano TKO 4 (12) 3 Oct 1992 Italy Palaghiaccio, Marino, Italy Won WBC super-middleweight title
35 Win 33–2 South Africa Thulani Malinga PTS 10 23 May 1992 United Kingdom National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England
34 Win 32–2 Canada Dan Sherry KO 3 (10), 2:34 19 Feb 1992 United Kingdom Alexandra Pavilion, London, England
33 Win 31–2 Argentina Hector Abel Lescano KO 3 (10), 2:35 7 Dec 1991 United Kingdom G-Mex Centre, Manchester, England
32 Win 30–2 United States Lenzie Morgan UD 10 26 Oct 1991 United Kingdom Leisure Centre, Brentwood, England
31 Win 29–2 United Kingdom Kid Milo TKO 4 (10) 3 Jul 1991 United Kingdom International Centre, Brentwood, England
30 Win 28–2 United States Robbie Sims TKO 7 (10) 3 Apr 1991 United Kingdom York Hall, London, England
29 Loss 27–2 United Kingdom Chris Eubank TKO 9 (12), 2:56 18 Nov 1990 United Kingdom National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England Lost WBO middleweight title
28 Win 27–1 United States Iran Barkley TKO 1 (12), 2:57 18 Aug 1990 United States Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBO middleweight title
27 Win 26–1 United States Doug DeWitt TKO 8 (12), 0:44 29 Apr 1990 United States Caesar's, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Won WBO middleweight title
26 Win 25–1 United States Sanderline Williams SD 10 14 Jan 1990 United States Caesar's, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
25 Win 24–1 Puerto Rico Jose Quinones TKO 1 (10), 2:51 1 Dec 1989 United States Hacienda Resort Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, US
24 Win 23–1 Dominican Republic Jorge Amparo UD 10 20 Oct 1989 United States Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
23 Loss 22–1 United Kingdom Michael Watson TKO 6 (12), 1:34 21 May 1989 United Kingdom Majestic Ballroom, London, England Lost Commonwealth middleweight title
22 Win 22–0 France Mbayo Wa Mbayo KO 2 (10), 2:20 28 Mar 1989 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
21 Win 21–0 Zambia Michael Chilambe KO 1 (12), 1:07 8 Feb 1989 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England Retained Commonwealth middleweight title
20 Win 20–0 Trinidad and Tobago David Noel TKO 1 (12), 2:04 10 Dec 1988 United Kingdom Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London, England Retained Commonwealth middleweight title
19 Win 19–0 Jamaica Anthony Logan KO 2 (12), 1:15 26 Oct 1988 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England Retained Commonwealth middleweight title
18 win 18–0 United States Tim Williams TKO 2 (10), 0:59 28 May 1988 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England
17 Win 17–0 Ghana Abdul Umaru Sanda TKO 2 (12) 20 Apr 1988 United Kingdom Alexandra Pavilion, London, England Won vacant Commonwealth middleweight title
16 Win 16–0 United Kingdom Darren Hobson KO 1 (8), 1:49 13 Apr 1988 United Kingdom Norwich Lads Boxing Club, Norwich, England
15 Win 15–0 United States Greg Taylor TKO 2 (8) 24 Feb 1988 United Kingdom Afan Lido F.C., Port Talbot, Wales
14 Win 14–0 Canada Byron Prince TKO 2 (8) 7 Feb 1988 United Kingdom Bingley Hall, Stafford, England
13 Win 13–0 Venezuela Fermin Chirino KO 2 (8) 27 Jan 1988 United Kingdom York Hall, London, England
12 Win 12–0 United States Reggie Miller TKO 7 (10), 1:08 2 Dec 1987 United Kingdom Wembley Conference Centre, London, England
11 Win 11–0 United Kingdom Ian Chantler KO 1 (8), 0:16 24 Nov 1987 United Kingdom The Hudson, Wisbech, England
10 Win 10–0 United States Ronnie Yoe TKO 1 (8) 3 Nov 1987 United Kingdom Crowtree Leisure Centre, Sunderland, England
9 Win 9–0 United Kingdom Russell Barker TKO 1 (6), 1:15 13 Oct 1987 United Kingdom Blazers Nightclub, Windsor, England
8 Win 8–0 United Kingdom Winston Burnett KO 3 (6), 1:55 16 Sep 1987 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England
7 Win 7–0 United Kingdom Eddie Smith KO 2 (8), 1:08 8 Sep 1987 United Kingdom Blazers Nightclub, Windsor, England
6 Win 6–0 United States Leon Morris KO 1 (6), 0:25 1 Jul 1987 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England
5 Win 5–0 United States Reginald Marks TKO 1 (6) 7 Jun 1987 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England
4 Win 4–0 United Kingdom Winston Burnett TKO 4 (8) 9 May 1987 United Kingdom Latchmere Leisure Centre, London, England
3 Win 3–0 Netherlands Rob Nieuwenhuizen TKO 1 (6), 2:03 22 Apr 1987 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England
2 Win 2–0 United Kingdom Kevin Roper TKO 1 (6) 4 Mar 1987 United Kingdom Festival Hall Super Tent, Basildon, England
1 Win 1–0 United Kingdom Graeme Ahmed TKO 2 (8), 1:10 28 Jan 1987 United Kingdom Fairfield Halls, London, England


  1. ^ "Benn to return to boxing at 55". BBC Sport.
  2. ^ "Nigel Benn comeback fight off due to shoulder injury". BBC Sport. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Nigel Benn". Nigel Benn. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  4. ^ "World Boxing Council". 6 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  5. ^ Daniel Lane (6 September 2013). "'When you think he is in darkness, that's a scary thought ... the darkness'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Gold Charity Ambassadors". City2Surf. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Media & Events". 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Life Community :August 2014 News" (PDF). Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  9. ^ "BoxRec: Conor Benn".
  10. ^ Rafael, Dan (2016) "New pro Harley Benn: 'This is my journey'", ESPN, 19 October 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016
  11. ^ "BoxRec: Harley Benn".

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Denys Cronin
ABA middleweight champion
Rod Douglas
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Tony Sibson
middleweight champion

20 April 1988 – 21 June 1989
Succeeded by
Michael Watson
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Doug DeWitt
WBO middleweight champion
29 April 1990 – 18 Nov 1990
Succeeded by
Chris Eubank
Preceded by
Mauro Galvano
WBC super-middleweight champion
3 October 1992 – 2 March 1996
Succeeded by
Thulani Malinga