Nigel Benn’s astonishing return to the ring at the age of 55 pencilled in for Birmingham in November… 23 years after his last fight!
- Nigel Benn is set to make an astonishing return to boxing in November
- The 55-year-old is set to fight in Birmingham after 23 years away from the sport
- There have been suggestions that his opponent could be Sakio Bika
Nigel Benn will make an astonishing return to the boxing ring in November in Birmingham — 23 years after his last fight.
The 55-year-old announced via social media on Friday that he was making a comeback and Sportsmail understands it will be on November 23 at the Resorts World Arena.
Mystery surrounds his opponent, though a source close to the fight indicated it is likely to be a 40-year-old former WBC world champion, which points towards Sakio Bika, who was a super-middleweight champion between 2013 and 2014 and fought for the light-heavyweight crown as recently as 2015.
Nigel Benn will make an incredible return to boxing aged 55, 23 years after his last fight
The Cameroonian-Australian has been inactive since October 2017.
Benn, who will fight this one-off 12-rounder at light-heavyweight, is expected to land in Britain this week after travelling from his home in Australia. A press conference has been provisionally planned for late next week.
The former middleweight and super-middleweight world champion has not fought since back-to-back defeats to Steve Collins in 1996.
Benn is set to return to the ring on November 23 at the Resort World Arena
There have been suggestions that Benn’s opponent could be 40-year-old Sakio Bika
However, he has dipped in and out of talks across the past seven years with his great rival Chris Eubank and is in excellent shape.
He held informal discussions with the British Boxing Board of Control, but with the prospects of being granted a licence extremely slim, Sportsmail understands this fight will be sanctioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority, — not recognised by the BBBoC.
Eubank was Benn’s preferred opponent, but after years of talks amounted to nothing, discussions have been held with both Collins and ring great Roy Jones Jr. It is understood that 50-year-old Jones Jr, who won titles from middleweight to heavyweight and last fought in 2018, was offered £500,000.
While people close to Benn insist there will be no follow-up to this bout, there will always interest, rightly or wrongly, in the prospect of a third fight with Eubank, against whom Benn lost and drew in 1990 and 1993 respectively.
But Benn told Sportsmail in 2015: ‘We spent three b****y years talking. But Chris is impossible.’
IT’S NIGEL’S FREE WILL… BUT IT FEELS BONKERS!
The signs were there in November 2015. Sportsmail turned up to Tony Sims’ gym in Essex to interview Conor Benn at the start of his professional career, but we had to wait for training to finish. Not Conor’s — he was done for the day. Dad Nigel was still pounding away at the pads with Sims.
Benn would have been 51 then. He is 55 now, 23 years on from his 48th fight and seemingly weeks away from his 49th. It is going to divide opinion.
The easiest defence will be to point to his physique. And then there’s his free will — why should he not get it out of his system?
But should it be allowed? It is telling the British Boxing Board of Control want no part of it. Boxing is dangerous and those risks tend to get worse with age. That’s before you factor in the possibility that Benn might face an opponent who was fighting for a world title seven months before our gym visit.
In a sport where almost anything goes, this feels a little bonkers.