Conor Benn has put his Fight Camp disappointment behind him. He is now fully focused on stealing the show when he defends his WBA Continental Welterweight Title against Adrian Granados at Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds this Saturday, September 4, shown worldwide on DAZN.
‘The Destroyer’ was set to headline the first Matchroom Fight Camp event last month before a positive COVID-19 test forced the Essex native to pull out of his clash with Mexican-American Granados on the Thursday of the fight week.
Benn, a face of the British boxing future, upped his stock in a major way after a first-round destruction of Samuel Vargas in April to improve to 18-0 with 12 knockouts, and the surging 24-year-old knows that another standout victory will push him a step closer to a World Title shot in the 147lbs division.
“I was devastated,” admitted Benn. “I went home half not believing it. We did around eight tests. I was absolutely devastated. I worked extremely hard and had a blinding camp. It honestly pained me so much – I even shed a few tears. I’m going to go through adversity again. It’s just how you react to it. What’s for me won’t pass me, so come September 4 in front of 20,000, I’ll put on a show.
“I was quite worried about long Covid. A few people messaged me saying not to train too hard too soon. When I broke my jaw and had my first sparring session back, people were saying, ‘you’re going to be a bit hesitant, and I thought, ‘no, I’m not. If it goes, it goes. If my jaw goes, it goes. I’m not going to have that at the back of my head.
“That was my mindset with training. When I was making my sprints on the steps down at Leigh-on-Sea, how am I hitting my PB after Covid? How am I hitting my PB for a 5 miler? I’m not going to say it’s all been heaven because a lot of people have been affected by COVID, but I’m blessed to have made a full recovery in time for this huge show.
“I don’t have a message for Granados. I don’t. There is nothing to say. I let my fists do the talking. Everything that has been said from both parties has been said now. At the end of the day, the promo is done. All that’s left to do now is a fight, and come September 4; he is in for one hell of a fight. I know he’s going to bring it – but that gets me going. Let’s have it!
“He’s a tough, durable guy; the only person to stop him is Danny Garcia. He won the fight against Adrian Broner. He gave hell to Shawn Porter. He fought Robert Easter Jr. He’s been in with the top boys, but he’s in with another top boy. I want to fight now. I want to get in there now.
“Vargas he’s going, ‘well yeah, you’re not Khan, you’re not Vergil Ortiz, you’re not Errol Spence, you’re not Danny Garcia’, Nah I’m Conor Benn mate. That’s my approach – if they don’t want to put respect on my name, then I’ll make them put respect on my name. At the end of the day, I’m up for a hard fight, but I’ve got his number on my worst day.”