Benn (22-0 14 KOs) is back in action in his second straight fight in the States after he returned from a 17-month absence in Orlando in September with a ten-round points win over Rodolfo Orozco. ‘The Destroyer’ has signaled his intentions to deal with Dobson (16-0 9 KOs) in a ‘violent’ manner, and then wants to get straight back into action in April or May.
Some of the biggest names in the sport are in Benn’s crosshairs on both sides of the Atlantic, with Brit rivals Chris Eubank Jr, Kell Brook and Liam Smith eye-catching future foes, as are American powerhouse names Devin Haney and Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis. The first bridge to cross is dispatching the dangerous Dobson in emphatic fashion, and then Benn’s attention will turn to all the big names as the 27 year old looks to stake his World title claims.
“I’ve been on the tip of everyone’s tongue and heavily spoken about, talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words,” said Benn. “I’ve proven time and time again I am what I say I am. Whether it goes the distance or two rounds, every department I do what I say I am going to do. You want to get outboxed for ten rounds? No problem. You want to get beat up for ten rounds, 12 rounds? No problem. You want to get knocked out early? Come and try me. That’s what this fight is, a reminder that I am what I say I am. You will see progress, even with what’s gone on, you’ll see what I’ve learned and that I’ve been in the gym and stayed disciplined, where many would have fallen off. It’s hard to stay motivated when you are being taken off course, but I have stayed disciplined, and you will see that on Saturday.
“Hopefully after this fight, April or May, we’re aiming to get back out in the UK in a mega-fight that the British public deserve. That’s all that matters, everyone that’s rode with me, gone through the storm with me and felt my emotions, we feel it together. I’m blessed with the supporters I have and the love I get shown. The deserve it and I want to give them the fights they want, I was willing to go up to 160lbs to do that. Any Welterweight is not a concern for me, any top American fighter, anyone, no problem.
“I don’t get involved in negotiations; I leave that to my team. This whole period, my team has just allowed me to stay disciplined and work in the gym. To stay dedicated and block out the noise of the multi-million-pound fights, the fights that have fallen through, the names like Devin Haney, Boots Ennis, Kell Brook, Chris Eubank Jr – I just stay dedicated to what I do. The money isn’t the motivating factor for me, winning is – I love winning, that’s what is important. If Chris didn’t want the fight, he didn’t want the fight, that’s that. I won’t lose sleep over it, I just kept saying ‘who’s next then?’ We keep moving, learning and developing. Chris isn’t at the front of my mind, I will stay the course and remind everyone why I am one of the most dangerous fighters at 147lbs.
“I’m 27 going on 40. I feel the last 18 months has aged me ten years. I’ve changed a lot. Things that used to worry me don’t worry me anymore. It’s true when they say that when you go through adversity, it gives you nothing but resilience and strength. Would I choose to go through it again? Probably not. Has it taught me a lot about who Conor Benn is as a man? It’s tested me, my character, what I stand for, what I believe in.
“I’m proud of the way I have handled it at such a young age, and still deal with being a dad, a husband, a son, a role model, it’s a lot. Some days I was dragging myself to the gym and it was hard, I was breaking down in the gym, saying ‘I don’t know if I can do this’. So, overcoming all of that, I’m proud of myself and I’m thankful, whatever God’s plan is, I’m trusting the process. There’s a lot of ups and downs but having a little girl on the way has softened me a little bit. My son is a blessing and when you look at my life, outside of boxing, it’s a blessing.
“It came from Bill Haney he said he would love the fight and I said no problem, we can do that fight, we can do it next. Devin has fired back with his nonsense talk; I didn’t mention his name and he wasn’t on my radar. But Bill was respectful, I like Bill and I like Devin, I don’t know why he was carrying on like that – but if he wants to come to England and to 147lbs, no problem. Think it’s going to be an easy touch? Come over. It’s not a problem to me. Let’s fight. We could have it in America, in England, in a phone box, anywhere.
“I’ve been calling for Boots. His Dad has come out and said, ‘he’s not even known in Philly man’, who wants to be known in Philly? There’s a whole global market, why would I want to be known in Philly? I’m a bigger name than him, probably in America and England. Is he a great fighter? Yes, a hell of a fighter. But don’t be claiming you don’t know who I am, and I do nothing for you. I was calling him out when I was top five. It’s weird. Remember I had no amateur experience, I’m not going to cry about it. I decapitated Samuel Vargas and Chris van Heerden better than Boots and Vergil Ortiz, so when you want to do your comparisons, there’s your measuring stick. I’m progressing quicker than anyone, so put some respect on it.”
Benn’s clash with Dobson tops the bill in Las Vegas, where the co-main event pits two exciting and unbeaten Middleweights against each other in the shape of Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams (15-0 10 KOs) against Germany’s Armel Mbumba-Yassa (10-0 7 KOs) for the for the WBA International and IBF North American titles.
It’s a Brit-heavy card with Benn’s Tony Sims-trained stable mates George Liddard and Jimmy Sains – who faces Andrew Buchanan (3-0-1 2 KOs) and Ahmed Swedy (5-2 2 KOs) respectively, and popular unbeaten Heavyweight George Fisher (10-0 9 KOs) offers a first overseas away day for his loyal ‘Bull Army’ and takes on Ukraine’s Dmytro Bezus (10-1 5 KOs) over eight rounds, while Light-Heavyweight talent Khalil Coe (7-0-1 5KOs) enjoyed a fruitful 2023 takes on Mexican KO artist Gerardo Osuna (20-0 18 KOs) over eight rounds.