Undefeated Welterweight contender Conor Benn scored a hard-fought ten round unanimous decision over a very “Game” Sebastian Formella on Saturday night at the Wembley Arena in London, England. Benn, who is the son of former two-division world champion Nigel Benn, displayed as close to a complete package of a skill set as one could imagine in defense of his WBA Continental Welterweight title. Benn frequently hit Formella with combinations to the body and head throughout as well as landing several thudding blows. Although the question became what on earth is holding Formella up, it seemed as though every time he appeared stunned or hurt by Benn’s onslaught of punches, he would immediately return offense. While similar scenarios have led to tragic outcomes throughout the history of the sport, Formella was able to remain both “Game” and competitive, despite suffering a beating at the hands of Benn who would go on to win a unanimous decision. Official scores were: 100-90, 99-91, and 99-92 all in favor of Conor Benn. Conor Benn advances to 17-0, with 11 Knockouts. Sebastian Formella falls to 22-2, with 10 Knockouts.
Also on this card:
Unbeaten Heavyweight prospect Fabio Wardley scored a devastating second round knockout over Richard Lartey. A jab followed by a brutal left hook, right hook combination to the head sent Lartey down and out in round two. Lartey remained down and under examination by the ringside physicians in attendance for several minutes, but was able to leave the ring under his own power. Official time of the stoppage was 1:22 of round two. Fabio Wardley advances to 10-0, with 9 Knockouts. Richard Lartey falls to 14-4, with 11 Knockouts.
In a battle for the vacant English Bantamweight championship, undefeated prospect Liam Davies scored a dominant sixth round stoppage over a “Game”, but overmatched Sean Cairns. From the opening bell, Davies used his height and reach to keep Cairns at distance where he was simply unable to get into any sort of rhythm. Davies found frequently success in landing his right hand on Cairns. As the fight progressed, Davies increased his offensive output and mixed in combinations to the body and head. The increasingly one-sided bout was finally halted after the sixth round when Cairns’ corner stopped the fight to prevent their fighter from further punishment. Liam Davies advances to 8-0, with 3 Knockouts. Sean Cairns falls to 7-3, with 1 Knockout.
Undefeated Heavyweight prospect Alen Babic scored a third round stoppage of veteran Tom Little. From the opening bell Babic relentlessly pressed Little. Although Little was able to land occasional solid blows, he eventually could not withstand Babic pressure. In round three a solid right hook to the head sent Little down. Following the knockdown, Babic continued the assault until finally Little collapsed against the ropes and down for a second and final time as the count was waved off by Referee Robert Williams at 2:38 of round three. Alen Babic advances to 6-0, with 6 Knockouts. Tom Little falls to 10-9, with 3 Knockouts.
Middleweight Jez Smith scored a lopsided six round decision over previously unbeaten Ben Ridings. What was an entertaining bout in spots Smith was able to land the cleaner more effective blows over the course of the fight. As all non-title bouts in the United Kingdom are scored by the referee officiating the bout, Referee Robert Williams scored this non-title bout 60-54 in Smith’s favor. Jez Smith advances to 12-2-1, with 5 Knockouts. Ben Ridings falls to 3-1, with 0 Knockouts.
This card promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing represented a look at what might be the near future in terms of the British Boxing scene as Liam Davies took one step closer to what could be an eventual challenge for the British Bantamweight championship, which is usually the springboard for British fighters prior to attempting to progress to the European and world levels of the sport. Two rising Heavyweights in Matchroom’s stable also took another step forward in their respective careers that may lead to an encounter between each other down the line as both look to establish themselves as players in the division on the world level. Middleweight Jez Smith was able to bounce back after suffering some career setbacks.
Finally, Conor Benn took another step forward towards world title contention. As we have seen numerous times throughout Boxing history when the children of great fighters follow in their footsteps and embark on careers inside the Boxing ring, success is not necessarily a given and because of the names they carry into the ring with them, often more is expected of that fighter than would probably be the case if they were simply a prospect with no previous lineage in the sport. Along with the seemingly unrealistic expectations that are often placed upon the offspring of great fighters is the microscope that usually follows their careers as well as any and all criticism that comes with it. For now, Conor Benn has shown flashes of the skills that made his father a great fighter, but has also shown an evolving skill set, which will only help him as he progresses in his career. Having broken into the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) top fifteen rankings in the 147lb. Welterweight division prior to his victory over Sebastian Formella, it is logical to assume that Benn could face someone in the top ten in his next fight. Whether or not he will be able to build off of what was an impressive and dominant performance remains to be seen, but Benn clearly has the attention of the Boxing world heading into 2021.
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