The most popular and prolific prizefighters in British Boxing history will be highlighted when SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s 30th anniversary year-long celebration continues in September with “Britain’s Best’’ on SHOWTIME EXTREME®.
The featured fighters –Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn– were longtime world champions. Each had a distinctive personality inside and outside the ring, and all helped usher in an era of boxers from Great Britain that currently features a record 14 world champions, including Carl Frampton, James DeGale, Lee Selby and Anthony Joshua.
For those fans who always felt bitter middleweight/super-middleweight rivals Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank had unfinished business to attend to back in the 1990s, by way of a third fight, there could be good news. Benn, who retired with a 42-5-1(35) record in 1996 after back-to-back losses to Irishman Steve Collins, recently made noise that suggested the 52-year-old was genuinely interested in returning to the ring to face the monocle-wearing fighter that so managed to get under his skin back in the day.
By Rick Murray – Doesn’t time fly. It was early October 1992, and Nigel Benn -long-time labelled on both sides of the Atlantic as boxing’s most exciting fighter- is preparing to face awkward, cagey Italian spoiler and WBC 168lb. ruler Mauro ‘Rocky’ Galvano. Known for his smothering, ring movement, clinching and countering, as well as being a former light-heavyweight (Benn was a former middleweight), Galvano started as the betting favourite and pre-fight tip by all pundits.
Benn, known for his aggressive power-punching and bob-and-weave style, ripped up the odds sheets and tore into the Champ relentlessly for four rounds, cutting off the ring and landing body shots and right hands. Tough man Mauro was breathing heavily and bleeding profusely and the fight was halted. New WBC King, Nigel Benn -who would hold the crown for a further 10 (often-exhilarating) defenses.
Benn switched over in January 1987 after beating every man he faced in the amateur ranks as an Army boxer and ABA competitor. This included future pro prospect Rod Douglas -ranked in the top-five in the World amateurs- and other very good amateur stand-outs in Mark Edwards, Roy Andre and Johnny Melfah. He had 24 knockouts in 28 fights for the West Ham ABC in 1985 and 1986, and in the early eighties won every tournament he entered in the Army ranks.
By James Slater – As those fans who were lucky enough to have seen him fight live, in the flesh (really lucky!) or from their armchair (must-see T.V!), Great Britain’s great middleweight/super-middleweight Nigel Benn rarely if ever disappointed in the action stakes.
Today, long after “The Dark Destroyer’s” final fight (a disappointing corner retirement loss to a Steve Collins who twice caught up with Benn at a time when he was way past his best) fans on both sides of The Atlantic remain interested in the whole Benn mystique. Far more than just a slugger (although Benn’s power was legendary), Nigel had heart, guts, skill and a far better chin than it was once thought (“this man ain’t chinny!” insisted former arch-rival Chris Eubank after the first of their two epic encounters had just come to it’s violent conclusion.)
There really was plenty to enjoy when Benn was in action:
Who can forget his amazing Oct. 1988 battle with Jamaican-born Anthony Logan? Defending his Commonwealth middleweight title for the first time, Benn almost came a cropper.