Tony Sims ‘100 per cent' certain Conor Benn will fight in the UK this year

Conor Benn is in Los Angeles training ahead of his February 3 Las Vegas fight with Peter Dobson.

Benn has gone as part of the team with trainer Tony Sims to help prepare John Ryder for his January 27 bout with Jamie Munguia in Phoenix, and they are making use of Matchroom’s new Churchill Boxing Gym.

Benn was being lined up to fight Chris Eubank Jr for the same February 3 date in a UK football stadium, but the British Boxing Board of Control and UK Anti-Doping [UKAD] appeals into Benn’s adverse PED findings from 2022 are still ongoing.

However, Benn’s trainer Tony Sims is certain Benn will box in the UK this year, for the first time since he stopped LA-based South African Chris van Heerden in April 2022.

Benn boxed Rodolfo Orozco in Florida last August, winning a decision, and Orozco then failed a test for PEDs. 

“Oh 100 percent, yeah,” said Sims, of Benn boxing in the UK in 2024. “His appeal is up sometime in February, so he expects to win the appeal – then there’s nothing to stop him boxing in the UK, really – there’s nothing to stop him boxing in the UK anyway, other than the Board [BBBofC] just don’t want to let him do it at the moment. So he’s free to fight, he’s got cleared, he’s free to fight but obviously they just won’t allow him to fight here, so that’s why we have to fight in America.”

Sims has backed Benn right the way through, since the WBC and VADA test results were made public with the Eubank fight just days away.

Sims has been friends with Benn’s fighting father, Nigel, for decades.

 “I’ll be pleased when the appeal’s all over and done with to be honest,” Sims added. “He's already done his year in, and he won it, so it’s just the Board appealing against it that’s holding us back now. Hopefully he comes through all of that and [will] just be fighting back in the UK – that’s where his name is, in the UK – so that’s where he needs to fight.” 

It is the Board and UKAD who are appealing the decision of the NAPD [National Anti-Doping Panel] to lift his suspension (although technically Benn was never suspended as he had already relinquished his Board of Control license over another matter). Benn is 27, and he held an emotional conference call with British journalists the day before flying to Los Angeles, talking about the last two years.

The Board and UKAD have appealed the NADP decision on the case, so Team Benn are waiting for that before making any concrete UK plans. 

“They’re the ones who judge the decision at the end of the day,” Sims added, before he was asked whether the saga had been a cloud hanging over the team. 

“Well, it’s been non-stop,” Sims continued. “And, in the meantime, there’s other fighters, big name fighters that have tested positive for stuff and after the first week, they’re never spoken about again, you know what I mean? But yeah, it’s just gone on too long now, and it’ll be like two years in June, it’s just gone on too long.”