Nigel Benn was a boxer from London known for his devastating punching power. He was so hyper-aggressive in the ring that he was a terror the middleweight and super middleweight divisions for almost a decade. In the course of his career, he became known as “The Dark Destroyer.”
Born January 22, 1964, to Barbadian parents, he would attend the Loxford School of Science and Technology. He pursued boxing after joining the British Army where he remained for over four years. Here, Benn was a Royal Regiment of Fusiliers infantryman based in Germany for the bulk of his enlistment.
Benn racked up an amateur record of 41-1, his sole loss being against Commonwealth Games gold medalist Rod Douglas. As a welterweight, he remained undefeated in the First Battalion for roughly two years. Before leaving the military, he defeated Rod Douglas for the ABA Middleweight title in 1986.
Benn’s War Path and the Commonwealth Title
In January 1987, Graeme Ahmed was the first opponent downed by Nigel Benn. The match lasted two rounds and ended in a knockout. This would be the trademark of his rookie year with knockouts coming either early in the match or midway. Another trademark was Benn taking on matches back to back or—in the case of September—weeks after each other.
Early in his career, he established himself as a tough fighter with tons of punching power. He would go undefeated for two years, winning the Commonwealth Middleweight title from Abdul Umaru Sanda who became his 17th straight victory in April 1988.
Nigel Benn’s 19th and 20th victories occurred at the end of 1988 and were successful defenses of the title. The last two victories of his first streak started off 1989 well with his win over Michael Chilambe in February going just over one minute.
In a fight almost mirroring Carl Thompson vs. David Haye, Michael Watson would defeat Nigel Benn in six rounds by tiring him out. In May 1989, the streak came to an end. The ending saw Benn get back to his feet but still be counted out. As a result, Benn would take several months to rest and train before returning at the end of the year. This comeback of sorts would be his march towards WBO World title gold.
-vs. Michael Watson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAR8PYfe8Zw