Conor Benn indebted to trainer Tony Sims, supremely confident of passing Chris Algieri test
On the countdown to his 20th professional fight, against Chris Algieri on December 11 in Liverpool, welterweight contender Conor Benn has said he will stay with trainer Tony Sims until the end of his career.
Sims, whose bustling stable includes John Ryder, Ted Cheeseman, Joe Cordina and Felix Cash among others, is a long-time friend and former sparring partner of Benn’s father, Nigel.
But Conor said it’s not down to that long-standing relationship but the journey he has been on with his coach at their Essex gym.
“The minute Tony hangs up his pads so to speak will probably be the day I hang up my gloves,” said Conor. “I would say the time Tony’s invested in molding me, shaping me and in important years of my life, from me coming to the gym as a boy to being a married man with my own family, it’s more than just boxing for me.
“If you look at Tony as a coach, I haven’t had a massive amateur experience, I am Tony’s fighter from start to finish. I haven’t had a GB background or extensive amateur experience and I didn’t have the basic fundamentals, I never had none of that. What you see is the product of Tony and the way he works with me and how he coaches me.”
The 25-year-old contender has beaten Adrian Granados and Samuel Vargas in his last two fights but admits that Algieri, a former world titleholder, marks a step up.
“You say that but all the fights have been a big step up on paper,” Benn continued. “Of course, he’s a former world champion and he’s going to bring something different but if I’m going to be reaching the levels I believe I should be able to beat people like Chris Algieri no problem. His biggest strength is probably his boxing brain, his ringcraft, his experience, [but] he’s just an all-round complete fighter and a seasoned pro.”
Benn has always impressed Sims with his work ethic and he’s moving into his prime years. Through the work they do together, Benn has recorded that he is getting stronger, fitter and faster with each passing camp, hitting personal bests in his strength and cardio work.
“I’m always levelling up,” he added. “My sprint times are on average drastically quicker, on my 200 meters – and on my 0.8-mile sprint we are looking at being 10-15 seconds quicker.”
The young fighter has won over many critics and sceptics and he’s also seen a change in public opinion that he believes is as much down to his character as his fighting style. He always thought the wider appreciation might come, along with his progress in the ring and he’s enjoying seeing it.
“It is [nice] but I surprise myself sometimes,” he said. “But I continue to work hard and trust the process. I think it’s just who I am, the way I conduct myself and the transparency I have. What you see is what you get and what I say is what I mean. I don’t sugarcoat anything and I say it how it is in and outside of boxing, being genuine is so key.”
Algieri is 25-3 (9 KOs) with the defeats coming to Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Errol Spence but he’s on a run of four wins.
“It can go one of two ways, it could be a boxing masterclass or I can go in there and try to take him out. We will see what Conor Benn turns up on the night,” Benn explained of what may happen in Liverpool. “Most definitely I can either outbox or outfight him, I’ve worked too hard to not be confident.”
Benn’s father will be watching ringside – he finishes visiting from Australia in January – and this Christmas will be Conor’s first as a father.
“It’s a blessing, I can’t wait to get this fight out of the way and spend Christmas with my dad, my wife and my baby,” he concluded. “I’ll be dressing up as Santa and all that, course I am!”
Benn-Algieri along with a co-main event between undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor and Firuza Sharpova, plus other undercard bouts, will be broadcast live and exclusively by DAZN.