BBBofC likely To Deny Any British Licence Holder To Face Conor Benn

Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board Of Control, has confirmed that Chris Eubank Jr or any BBBofC licenced fighter wishing to face Conor Benn overseas will need to seek approval from the British Boxing governing body. On Monday, it was revealed that Conor Benn was set to face Chris Eubank Jnr in June at an event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Yesterday on Tuesday, promoter Kalle Sauerland dampened those expectations that Eubank Jr would face Benn, insisting that he and Eubank Jr remain in discussions for a rematch with Liam Smith. 

All British license holders must apply to the BBBofC to seek permission to box in a different territory. If any licence holder refuses to follow this procedure, they risk being penalised by the BBBofC. 

At the time of writing, Kell Brook, the former IBF world welterweight champion, is seemingly now the favourite to secure a lucrative fight with Benn. This development comes after Brook and the promoter of Benn, Eddie Hearn, met on Tuesday with Kell, indicating that the meeting went well, although he did not reveal what was discussed. It should be noted that Brook is on a shortlist as an opponent for Conor Benn’s inevitable return following his well-documented drug testing issues. 

Benn relinquished his British licence last October, so he does not need clearance from the BBBofC to box again. But his trainers and Eubank Jr (or whoever is selected) require the board’s authorisation.

Robert Smith revealed to the Guardian that persimmon to face Benn in an overseas territory would likely be denied however would be open to review on a case-by-case basis.

“If the situation remains as it is today, then I would think that would be unlikely. But we have not had any applications.

“Permission might be withheld for lots of reasons, and we won’t unreasonably withhold it but must consider the relevant factors that we know at the time of application. Each case is different.

“If any British licence holder – boxer, trainer, etc – wants to fight in a tournament abroad with another commission, they have to ask us for permission,” he said. “Once we get an application from a British licence holder to take part in an event abroad, we will be able to say yes or no.”

Smith gave the reason why he feels sanctioning any British boxer to face Benn would be disrespectful to the sport. Benn continues not to cooperate with the BBBofC’s investigation into him after commenting that he will not get a fair hearing and, when speaking to Piers Morgan in a recent interview, said that his “pride” will not allow him to do so in regards to working with the BBBofC to clear up his issues with the organisation. 

“I think common sense prevails. We have a boxer who has recorded positive dope tests who hasn’t been cleared, so it would be disrespectful to the sport [to grant permission].”

Smith confirmed that Benn does not need BBBC approval, but he reiterated that “his trainers do, and anyone else in his team who is a British Boxing Board licence holder – we need to have an application for them to go [to Abu Dhabi].”

After his collapsed fight with Eubank Jr after testing positive for Clomifene, Conor Benn finds himself in this situation. Benn failed two VADA anti-doping tests in July and September, which ultimately forced the October encounter to be “postponed” by promoters Matchroom and Wasserman after the BBBofC refused to sanction the fight.

Benn recently returned to the WBC welterweight ratings after the WBC found no conclusive evidence that Benn had taken the substance intentionally and knowingly.