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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Sunny Badwal

Conor Benn willing to ‘spend every last penny’ to prove his innocence

PA Archive

Conor Benn admits he fell out of love with boxing following his failed drug tests but is willing to “spend every last penny” to prove his innocence in the appeal.

Benn’s career was thrown into turmoil in October 2022 after he twice tested positive for the banned drug clomifene in the lead-up to a bout against Chris Eubank Jr that was subsequently shelved in fight week.

His provisional suspension was lifted by the independent National Anti-Doping Panel, although the British Boxing Board of Control and UK Anti-Doping have lodged an appeal against that decision.

The 27-year-old was hoping to face Eubank Jr in a rearranged clash following the collapse of the initial fight until talks fell through and is now instead preparing for his second fight since returning to the ring, against Peter Dobson on 3 February in Las Vegas.

Benn emotionally explained his struggles to stay motivated in the aftermath of the failed tests.

He said: “I’m willing to spend every last penny I have to fight my innocence, that’s how much this means to me.

“I know how hard it is to drag myself to the gym, fall out of love with boxing and still have to stay disciplined.

“I’ve been so demotivated for the past year-and-a-half. It wasn’t motivation that got me through, it was discipline and determination to do what’s right.

“I will continue to shout it from the rooftops for my innocence because I am.”

Benn made a first high-profile public appearance since the episode when Anthony Joshua fought Jermaine Franklin in April 2023 at the O2 Arena and was overwhelmed with the attention he received.

I'm willing to spend every last penny I have to fight my innocence, that's how much this means to me
— Conor Benn

The son of former two-division world champion Nigel Benn felt his family’s name had been tarnished and has spoken about how the news of the failed tests left him feeling suicidal.

“That (affecting family reputation) was the worst thing to deal with, the shame. You get so emotional talking about it. My dad still loves me, I still love him,” he said.

“I went to AJ v Franklin in April. When I talk about anxiety, I thought, I’m not ready to front this and had security with me and I thought I’d have it there for different reasons. I got mobbed, I couldn’t walk.

“I didn’t leave the house – when I walked to Sainsbury’s, I had to walk back and forget the shop because I couldn’t handle it. I’m one hell of a fighter, I’m bold, fearless, but I’m still human. I care about my name.

“It has been taxing, testing, like I’ve been through hell and back. Some days I’ve not been motivated and down in the dumps, some days I have been suicidal. I’ve learned a lot in the process and it’s made me a better man.”

Benn now switches his attention to the fight with American Dobson, his second consecutive fight outside the UK.

Benn is looking forward to coming back and fighting in the UK in the future but knows he has a job to do before he starts thinking about bigger fights.

He added: “I treat him (Dobson) as the world title fight, the big fight because without him there is no big fight.

“Fighting in Orlando and now Vegas is not under the best conditions, but it’s a big chapter and I like the way my book’s coming along.

“I just can’t wait for the homecoming. I’m excited to fight in America because that’s where all the world titles are. It’s every fighter’s dream to show in America, let alone Vegas, the home of boxing over there.”

:: Conor Benn and Peter Dobson will put their unbeaten records on the line live on DAZN

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