Former World Champ Nigel Benn confirmed comeback Thursday
Stating Thursday that he needs closure on his boxing career, former two division Middleweight and Super Middleweight World champion, Nigel Benn, will in fact, come out of retirement at the astounding age of 55 this November.
Benn told the assembled media Thursday morning in London, that despite having not fought professionally since 1996, he needs to get back in the ring one more time:
Nigel Benn sets concerning fight with Sakio Bika: https://t.co/wANxaZDv94 pic.twitter.com/9FnPfxC6pP
— Boxing News (@BoxingNewsED) September 26, 2019
Benn will take on a 40-year-old Sakio Bika, who is a former Super Middleweight Champion himself, but like Benn is aging and hasn’t been in the ring in two years. The fight will be at Light Heavyweight or 175 lbs.
Benn explained why he needs to be back,
“It was always about closure that I wanted that I never had. I feel the time is right now. People might say I’m 55, it’s nothing to do with age. “I’m more fit now than when I was a world champion. It’s not the Dark Destroyer anymore, now it’s Nigel Benjamin Button Benn. I one hundred percent mean that.
“I am so fit. I need closure. I could have picked an easy opponent, but that’s not me. Everyone telling me not to do it, no. Worry about him, not me.”
As we wrote previously, Benn rose to prominence in the late 80s and the 1990s as a 160 lbs. and 168 lbs. World Champ. Known as the “Dark Destroyer” he burst on the worldwide scene after winning the WBO middleweight Championship from American Doug DeWitt in April of 1990. That improved his record to 26 – 1.
In his next fight in August of that year, when he destroyed former middleweight champ Iran Barkley in one round in Las Vegas. However, Benn lost the WBO Middleweight Title in his next fight by TKO to fellow popular Englishman Chris Eubank in November of 1990.
He then moved up to 168 lbs., and stopped Italian Mauro Galvano, in Italy in October of ’92 to capture the WBC Super Middleweight Championship. Benn would successfully defend that title nine times over the next two years before losing to South African Fulani Malinga on a controversial split decision in March of 1996.
Benn then fought Ireland’s Steve Collins twice, losing in July by fourth round TKO and then, was stopped after the 6th round in the rematch in November of 1996. And, he retired at age 32, shortly thereafter, with a 42-5-1 record.
Benn has always kept himself in fantastic shape and has been training fighters, including his two sons, who have fought professionally since 2016.
There are concerns about Benn’s reflexes and abilities to the point that prominent English boxing promoter, Frank Warren has spoken out about the fight being a bad idea and refused involvement in promoting it.
The 15 years younger Bika has not fought since November of 2017. He held the same WBC 168 lbs. belt that Benn had in the 90s, until he lost to American Anthony Dirrell by 12 round decision in August of 2014.
Despite the health concerns, Benn has been certified and licensed by the “British and Irish Boxing Authority or ‘BIBA’ for the upcoming bout. BIBA’s chief medical officer, Michael Graham, had this to say about Benn’s return,
“The tests that we have done on Nigel Benn to date indicate that his physiological age is at least 15 years younger than his chronological age. That’s scientific tests, MRI scans, cognitive function, body fat, etc.”
He added that Benn is, “certainly the fittest 55 year old boxer on the planet.”
The fight will be offered on Pay per View from Birmingham, England on November 23rd.