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Biofile: Nigel Benn Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

STATUS: Former WBC Super Middleweight champ. BORN ON: Jan. 22, 1964 IN: Ilford, London. RESIDENCE: Majorca, Spain (via Beckingham, Kent). FAMILY: Wife Carolyne; sons, Conor, Dominic, daughters, Sade, Renee, India. CHILDHOOD HEROES: Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler and Bruce Lee. I love martial arts. I did martial arts for six years. NICKNAMES: The Dark Destroyer, The Mean Machine, Nigel “Rambo” Benn, The English Hagler, Mr. Punch. HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Going to church. Christian counselor. Training my two cousins. Music, deejaying. CHILDHOOD DREAM: To be somebody. I knew I was going to be somebody. My mom wanted me to become a chef. EARLY BOXING MEMORY: Back in the Army in Germany, I stopped a guy when he broke his hand on the top of my head (age 18). FIRST JOB(S): In the Army, labourer and security guard. FUNNY BOXING MEMORY: Doug DeWitt fight in 1990 in Atlantic City. DeWitt walked over to me in the ring and said, ‘You’re going down. ‘ I replied, ‘I might be going down, but you’re STAYING down!’

PRE-FIGHT MEAL: Fish and rice or fish and pasta. Half a jar of honey. Very good for you. Gets in your blood real quick. PRE-FIGHT FEELING: Confident. I knew I trained two and sometimes three times a day. I knew my body was ready for the fight. The hard part was the training, the fight is the easy part. I was good at peaking for the night of the fight. I never had any fear of my opponents. I was nervous, but never afraid. TOUGHEST OPPONENT: Gerald McClellan. Robbie Sims was the strongest. Stronger than (Chris) Eubank and (Michael) Watson. I had to watch out for his body punching. Nicky Piper was able to absorb heavy punches. Henry Wharton was one of my toughest fights. I never came out of the ring as bruised as I had after that fight. I had to undergo hospital checks on my kidneys. HARDEST PUNCHER: Gerald McClellan. Man, I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know a guy could hit that hard. Knocked me straight through the ropes in the first round. And in the third round he hit me with a body shot. I never felt a body shot like that before. CLOSEST BOXING FRIENDS: I try to stay away from boxers. GREATEST SPORTS MOMENT: Whipping Doug DeWitt for the WBO Middleweight title. Three knockdowns in the 8th round. I’d never seen a man take so much pain. DeWitt saved every punch with his face. Both his eyes were split. His ear was so smashed it turned blue. My eye was split as well. And I broke my wrist with the very last punch of the fight, a left hook. MOST PAINFUL MOMENT: The McClellan fight. Inflicting that kind of damage does something to you. I’d wanted to win, sure. But not at that price. On that night, my heart went out of boxing. BIGGEST REGRETS: Looking back, I had a pretty full career. 14 years, starting in Germany in the fall of 82. I won every tournament I was in- in the Army, I was number one in Europe in the Army. I was supposed to turn professional in 1985 but I had some unfinished business with Rod Douglas, I reversed my only loss the following year and even turned down an opportunity to turn professional on a Tyson undercard at MSG (Madison Square Garden) so that I could win the ABA’s. I knocked out my first 21 opponents, picked up the commonwealth cup and made a name for myself. I won two world titles, my overhand right smash took Iran Barkley and Gerald McClellan to their knees in title defences. So what I’m saying is I’m just happy that I did something with my life, happy that I put something into boxing, you know most of my childhood friends are either dead or in jail. You know?

FAVOURITE MOVIE: Scarface. FAVOURITE TV SHOWS: Discovery Channel, learning about history. Game shows, The Price is Right,
Wheel of Fortune, The Pyramids. MUSICAL TASTES: Garage music. FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT: Caribbean. FAVOURITE BOXERS: Mike Tyson. I really love that guy. Some would have been left out for most north carolina school districts, the 1990-91 school year provided their first experience with differentiated pay. My type of guy. Not so much his out of ring conduct. I met him in Las Vegas during Leonard-Duran III, at a club. He was sitting down. He knew of me. Outside, I was acting real cool. Inside, I was excited, Wow, I just met my hero! Love him to death.

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