Conor Benn takes another step up in his promising career on Saturday night when he takes on grizzled veteran Samuel Vargas in a 10-round bout at the Copper Box Arena, but Benn is confident that he’ll overcome this challenge like he did the rest.
Speaking on the Betfred Boxing Show, unbeaten welterweight Benn told Dominic McGuinness and Anthony Crolla that he’s eager for yet another tough assignment.
“It’s boxing. You've got to rise to these challenges and you’ve got to look forward to them - this is what I work hard for, isn’t it? People keep saying this is a step up, but wasn’t Sebastian Formella? Wasn’t Jussi Koivula?,” pointing out they were a former IBO champion and three-time European challenger, respectively.
“I dealt with those the most comfortably probably in my whole career. There’s levels to this game and I think that’s the thrill of it all, you’ll find out what level I’m at and what levels I can get to.
“When I first turned pro, it was all fun and games, it was a little bit fun for me and the public, and it got serious very quick because I believe in myself and I back myself and that comes from the confidence I put into my work.”
When asked where the biggest improvements in his boxing have come from, the 24-year-old puts it all down to growth inside and outside of the ring.
“Definitely maturity and experience,” said Benn. “It all comes with age and you can’t rush things. The way of the world is you gain knowledge, you gain wisdom, you might have to go through a few things to gain that knowledge - I’ve hit the deck twice early on in my career, I’ve had problems with making weight before, I’ve had life struggles present themselves in training camps that I’ve had to overcome.”
“You go through these thing and it does make you a better fighter. If you learn from it, choose to get past it and you will inevitably come back stronger, whatever it is - a broken jaw, a torn tendon in my hands - all these things happen, it teaches you patience and each fight I will build.”
This weekend Benn steps in with Colombia’s Vargas, a 39-fight veteran who has mixed it with the likes of Amir Khan, Errol Spence Jr and Danny Garcia since making his pro debut back in 2010. ‘The Destroyer’ admits he has a tough task in London but is ready to prove to the world that he’s a genuine contender at 147lbs.
“I’m expecting one hell of a right hand that he keeps talking about,” joked Benn. “But he’s a tough man, he’s as tough as they come, he’s a veteran of the sport, he’s been in with the best of our generation so this is another fight where I plan on showing levels and showing what level I’m at, I don’t throw away the words ‘top world contender’ lightly and I believe I’m a top world contender and I’ll continue to prove that on Saturday night.”
“I work too hard to not be confident, it’s not arrogance, but my self-belief comes in my team, comes in my work ethic, comes in the life I live and the way I choose to approach things. It isn’t just arrogance, because at the end of the day, I’ve worked hard to get to where I have to.”