“The Dark Destroyer” Nigel Benn was one boxer who made up a trifecta of middleweights that renewed interest of the sport in1980s-1990s Britain. Following his May 1989 loss to Michael Watson, he returned later that year to start his march towards the WBO World Middleweight title.
Arrival on the World Stage
This new Nigel Benn was better equipped to handle longer contests, as his bout against Jose Amparo showed in a 10-round unanimous decision. He would also have a 10-round split decision against Sanderline Williams at the beginning of 1990.
With three bouts in his winning streak down, he got a shot at the World Middleweight belt, held by Doug “The Cobra” DeWitt in April 1990. In another showing of a more season fighter, the Dark Destroyer defeated DeWitt by knockout in the eight of twelve rounds. He would defend the belt in a decisive first round knockout against Ira “The Blade” Barkley.
The Dark Destroyer Meets Simply The Best
Benn’s reign would come to an end when he ran into the undefeated Chris “Simply the Best” Eubank. Going into the bout Eubank was the WBC International Middleweight champion and 24-0. In short: he was unstoppable and go end a bout mid-match, early, or go the distance. It would be a challenge for the 26-1 Benn who had managed to end 24 of those matches by knockout.
Taking place in November 1990, the match saw Nigel Benn hold his own against Eubank for nine rounds before losing via knockout. So ended Benn’s second streak with a second career loss.
In true Dark Destroyer fashion, Benn embarked on another winning streak, going all of 1991 and 1992 and most of 1993 undefeated. Along the way, he won the WBC Super-Middleweight title and continued the streak with three harder fought defenses.
Towards the end of 1993, he would have a second showdown with Chris Eubank with both of their titles on the line. Eubank was now 35-0-1 and Benn was 36-2-1. Having learned from his second career loss, Benn was able to stave off Eubank for most of the contest and walked away with his second career draw.
Later Career and Retirement
Following the draw decision against Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn chained together a five-defense win streak in the super-middleweight division. As a middleweight, Benn was able to bulldoze through opponents with his powerful punch being the star of the matches. Now heavier and more experienced, he could take opponents to the final round and pace himself.
His last three wins came by way of knockout. He would lose the WBC Super-Middleweight title in March 1996 to Thulani Malinga. Benn challenged Steve “The Celtic Warrior” Collins for the WBO Super-Middleweight belt in July 1996. This bout ended in a fourth-round knockout loss for Benn.
Following a loss in the November rematch, Nigel Benn retired from active competition. Now living in Sydney, Australia, Benn has trained future boxers, is heavily involved in charity and pursued further education.
In 2013, he was inducted into the WBC Boxing Hall of Fame and is recognized as the super-middleweight division’s finest champion. He was furthered honored with his image being placed on the WBC Super-Middleweight belt.
His sons Conor and Harley both entered the ring. Conor Benn debuted in 2016 and fights in the welterweight division and as of June 2018, he is 12-0 with nine knockouts. Debuting in 2017, Harley fights in the middleweight division. He has a 3-0 record as of June 2018.