Nigel Gregory Benn (born January
22, 1964) is a British former professional boxer. Nicknamed the "Dark
Destroyer" for his punching power and aggressive fighting style, Benn
held the WBO middleweight and WBC super middleweight titles during
a career which spanned eleven years, and he is ranked by BoxRec as
the fourth best British super middleweight boxer of all time.
British, he attended Loxford School of Science and Technology, Ilford,
Greater London. Benn served for four and a half years in the British
Army as an infantryman in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and was
stationed in Germany for three years, then Northern Ireland during
the Troubles for 18 months. Benn comes from a sporting family that
includes a famous cousin in the football world, Paul Ince, who would
often accompany Benn to the ring for his UK fights. Benn had a record
of 41 wins and 1 loss as an amateur boxer, with the loss being against
Rod Douglas, whom Benn later defeated.
Professional boxing career
turned professional in 1987 and began a streak of 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 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, albeit by a somewhat hasty referee's count.
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
two more wins, against Sanderline Williams and Jose Quinones, Benn
fought WBO middleweight title holder Doug DeWitt of the USA 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 floored 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 November 18, 1990. Benn lost his title to Eubank
when the referee stopped the fight in the ninth round.
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 October 10,
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 a fourth round TKO.
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. He defended
his title against fellow Britons Nicky Piper and Lou Gent, and a rematch
victory over Mauro Galvano, before again boxing great rival Chris
Eubank, who was now WBO super middleweight champion.