Conor Benn feels that he is a hot commodity at the moment.
The British welterweight has been the focus of enormous scrutiny ever since it was revealed last year that he tested positive, in two separate tests, for the banned performance-enhancing drug clomifene. The revelation of the first test led to the cancellation of his high-profile fight with Chris Eubank Jr. in October.
But the drug controversy that has engulfed his career has not stopped him from seeking out fights with some of the bigger names in boxing—and, along the way, disregarding protocols with the governing bodies in his native homeland, namely United Kingdom Anti-Doping and the British Boxing Board of Control.
Indeed, Benn has been linked to a wide array of fighters for a possible return this summer, including Manny Pacquiao, Eubank, and Kell Brook, whom Benn scuffled with Saturday at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, during the undercard of the 140-pound title bout between Chantelle Cameron and Katie Taylor.
Benn was first rumored to make his return to the ring on June 3 in Abu Dhabi, but those plans were apparently scrapped in favor of landing on the June 17 card in New Orleans headlined by Regis Prograis. But according to recent intimations from Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, another date may be in the works for his embattled client.
After Saturday’s ringside tussle with Brook that saw both fighters shove each other, Benn said he believes that the reason why fighters continue to call him out is because they believe him to be innocent.
“Listen, if anyone believes those accusations, no one would want to be fight me,” Benn told Boxing Social. “If anyone believes those accusations, they wouldn’t want to fight me. That’s it, period. It’s all rubbish, and they know that. It’s safe to say that I’m the most wanted man in Britain.”
Benn was formally charged by UKAD last month for a doping violation and has also been under provisional suspension by the organization since mid-March. Benn’s ongoing case with the British board is less clear, as he has repeatedly butted heads with the body since last October.
Nevertheless, even with various investigations pending, Benn has not been shy about foisting himself back in the limelight—or the ring.
“The reality is, I’ll fight anyone,” Benn said. “I’ve got options. You’ve got Kell Brook calling me out, you’ve got Pacquiao calling me out, you’ve got Chris Eubank wanting to fight, [middleweight contender] Liam Smith wanting to fight—I’d go up to 154; I believe my power carries up to super middle[weight]—it doesn’t really concern me.
“I’ll fight any one of them any day of the week. At the end of the day, it’s just funny how I used to chase Kell, and now Kell is chasing me.”
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.