Conor Benn continued his upward trajectory in the Welterweight ranks after a hugely impressive victory over the tough Sebastian Formella at the SSE Arena in Wembley on Saturday evening (21 November).
'The Destroyer' moved to 17-0 and retained his WBA Continental title thanks a convincing unanimous decision victory over the German opponent, who'd gone the distance in his last five previous bouts including a decision loss against the formidable Shawn Porter.
Cards of 100-91, 99-91 and 99-92 were a fair reflection of just how classy of a performance Benn produced in his first main event slot, originally scheduled to be occupied by the rematch of Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte. Povetkin contracted COVID-19, leading to the fight being postponed and arising an opportunity for the Londoner to step in and make his mark.
He did just that, showing slick movement to keep Formella at range whilst pushing his opponent back with impeccably accurate damage to both the head and body on sharp inside flurries. Benn's coach Tony Sims will have been delighted at the effectiveness of his fighter's jab, which consistently turned out to be stiff and snappy across the duration of the ten rounds, drawing blood from Formella's nose and swelling of the left eye.
To his enormous credit, Formella stuck to the task and refused to be fazed by the onslaught and creativity Benn was enforcing upon him from the first bell. His chin stood up well to a number of sharp shots, and he continued to throw shots of his own whilst looking to force Benn onto the back foot for respite.
His willingness to dig deep ensured Benn wouldn't cap his maiden headline show with a stoppage, indeed going the distance. But it was a stern test for the protégé of father Nigel, who himself would have seen shades of the potential that surrounds his youth in the near future across the 147lbs division.
Now sitting pretty within the top 15 of the WBA rankings, Benn addressed his upcoming plans with a post-fight interview with Sky Sports; with a familiar name across the British boxing scene on his lips.
"There is only one fight I care about and that's against Josh Kelly! For all those thinking I'm scared, stop talking rubbish. All I want is Kelly!"
The man in demand, Kelly, has a difficult task facing him in January, scheduled to face the destructive David Avanesyan for the European Welterweight title; a fight that is on its third rescheduling having fallen through twice in 2020.
What else happened this weekend?
There were some majestic knockout performances on the Matchroom undercard of Benn-Formella.
In the chief support, Ipswich Heavyweight Fabio Wardley produced a stunning one punch knockout of Richard Lartey in the second round, adding to his previous performance at the promotion's Fight Camp in August where he provided a similar outcome for Simon Valiliy.
Another Heavyweight in action was Croatian fighter Alen Babic, and he revelled on his fifth lockdown card of the year to stop Tom Little inside three rounds.
Liam Davies claimed the English Bantamweight title with a victory over Liverpool's Sean Cairns, who was pulled from the fight at the end of the sixth round, and Jez Smith defeated Ben Ridings with a card of 60-54 over six rounds in the Super Middleweight division.