Conor Benn doesn’t get the sense that Britain’s stars of yesteryear are eager to face him.
Not long after Benn short-circuited Chris van Heerden in two rounds last Saturday at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, former welterweight contender Amir Khan, on the suggestion of promoter Eddie Hearn, ducked through the ropes to share a microphone with Benn. If the idea was to stoke the flames of intrigue between the two fighters – the past of British boxing versus its future – the exercise fell flat on its face. Khan, who is coming off a punishing sixth-round knockout defeat at the hands of countryman Kell Brook in February – hinted at a ring return but also strongly implied that Benn was from his mind as a potential opponent.
“I’ve just come here today just to enjoy the champ,” Khan said.” Enjoy the boxing. Eddie told me to get in the ring. The champ put in a great performance and I’m sure he’s going to have a great career. He’ll go far in life and we’ll support him.
“At the moment I’m enjoying spending time with the family. I might announce something tomorrow or I might announce something in a few months. I made a lot of money in the game. I think it’s about enjoying the time off and if the hunger comes back, we’ll see where we go from there.
“Look he’s a young hungry lion. Who knows? The people want to see the fight. He’s a great champ. Let’s see what happens. At the moment I’m just enjoying my time off. I’m going to get back in the gym and this is great motivation.”
Benn, 25, may have been disappointed by Khan’s reaction – but hardly surprised.
“It’s nothing but respect,” Benn said of the Bolton native in an interview with IFL TV after the fight. “I’ve seen loads of interviews (with Khan), yeah, ‘he wants the fight’, so I thought I’d give him this opportunity to express [that]…You see these interviews, yeah, ‘Khan fancies Benn fight.’ Well, here’s your moment to express that. And what was expressed was the complete polar opposite.
“I take it he’s enjoying retirement. He’s living a nice life. He’s had a great career. He’s probably thinking, ‘why would I want any of that.’ I don’t blame him. He’s probably thinking I could probably do without that in my life.”
Benn (21-0, 14 KOs), the son of British boxing great Nigel Benn, also assumed that Brook also shares the same line of thinking as Khan, but with the Sheffield native Benn was much less charitable. Benn had called out Brook after Brook defeated Khan, but their discussions apparently faltered because Brook’s asking price was too high. Brook has reportedly been in serious talks to face middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr.