Nigel Benn’s planned ring return at age 55 has now been cancelled. The former middleweight and super-middleweight champion has announced on social media how he suffered a shoulder injury and has now been forced to scrap his comeback. Benn was to have fought fellow former champ Sakio Bika up at light-heavyweight on November 23rd.
The announced ring return stunned many, with most saying Benn should not risk his health by fighting again. Despite this, Benn went ahead with his training, obtaining a license from BIBA, the British and Irish Boxing Authority. Now, perhaps for the best, the comeback will not happen.
“With a heavy heart I am sad to say I had to make the hard decision today to hang up my boxing gloves,” Benn said. “I’d like to thank you all for supporting me throughout my career but the time is up for me. I thank you all for giving me an unbelievable career. I had to call it quits today, I wanted a hard spar, but it just wasn’t happening. My shoulder started playing up and I could not throw a right hand at all. Today’s the day I hand over the baton to my son Conor, who is going to carry on the name, but with me it comes to an end today.”
Doubtless many, many Benn fans will breathe a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that their hero will not now face embarrassment or something worse by fighting again after having had a long, long 23 years out of the ring. Benn last fought way back in 1996, when he was beaten, when past his best, by Steve Collins.
Benn, who really does look to have kept himself in quite superb physical condition, and was working hard for the Bika fight, finishes, finally, with a 42-5-1(35) pro record.
According to a news piece from BBC Sport, the November 23rd show may still go ahead, possibly with former IBF welterweight champ Joshua Clottey facing Tommy Jacobs in some form of title bout. Also, the scheduled under-card bouts will go ahead as planned should the card be saved.