Conor Benn snubs Harlem Eubank fight – ‘It’s Chris or no one for me’

Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr were supposedly set to bury their grudge in February inside Tottenham’s football stadium in front of tens of thousands of fans.

But due to the appeal of both the British Boxing Board of Control and UKAD into Benn’s ongoing dispute in two failed PED tests from 2022, Benn finds himself back on the road and boxing in Las Vegas on a Saturday afternoon show at The Cosmopolitan Hotel instead. 

Rather than hordes of Englishmen, fueled by the nostalgic rivalry from the 1990s that their parents shared, Benn does not fight Eubank before a packed arena, but he meets Peter Dobson in what will be a much less raucous venue.

That in itself has changed Benn’s mindset as he prepares for his February 3 return to the ring.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t, it’s not even [Chris] Eubank [Jr.],” he said, of the difference in venues and opponent. “Forget him, it’s anyone. It’s the [Jaron] Ennises, it’s the Devin Haneys, it’s the [Mario] Barrioses, so when you’re talking those level fights, I’m ready. Yeah it is frustrating, but what can I do? I leave it to my team to make the big fights, and that’s on them. I focus on doing what I can. I make sure I deliver, every single time. Nine times out of 10, 10 out of 10, I deliver and I do what I say I’m gonna do. I make sure that I make it look easy, I make sure that I make the opponents look like what they are, the rest is up to them to make the big fights. So is it a little bit of a step back [fighting Peter Dobson]? Yes. Am I excited to be out? Yes. But my goal is to make these fights look like the fights that they are, and although it can be challenging getting up at three or four in the morning, and training for a guy like this, but he’s still in the way of them fights happening anywhere.” 

New York’s Dobson is 16-0 with nine stoppages. Benn is 22-0 and has boxed just once, in Florida, since his world was turned upside down and news of the positive tests came to light. Benn, back then, was preparing for the Eubank fight, which was just a couple of days away from happening.

In the months that has followed, he has been called out by another Eubank, welterweight Harlem, who trains at Adam Booth’s gym with Charlie Beatt. Chris Eubank Sr said he would prefer Harlem to fight Benn than Chris Jr, because it would pit two welterweights against one another. Benn said this week that he would go up to 160lbs to fight Chris Jr, but that is the only opponent he would jump for because Benn is not that big.

And despite admiring Harlem, Benn has ruled out fighting the 19-0 29-year-old.

“I like him [Harlem Eubank], I think he’s a cool guy, he’s got cool swagger, [but] different stages,” Benn said, of where they are in their careers. “I mean, where I’m at, talking me in with the big names, he just ain’t got that X-factor. He’s an okay fighter, but he’s not on my radar at all. You can’t then just jump on the bandwagon of [Chris] Eubank-Benn because your name is Eubank, but no one knows who you are. Imagine having the name of Eubank and no one in boxing really knows who you are, so you’re obviously doing something wrong. You're a good boxer, fair enough, but you’re just not on my radar. I’m so close to closing in on a world title – that’s where I’m at – it’s either Chris Eubank [Jr.] or no one for me.” 

Benn returns to action in back-to-back American fights at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas against Peter Dobson on Saturday, February 3. The fight will air live worldwide on DAZN – with Benn headlining early afternoon in Las Vegas for prime time viewing in the UK.