Dark Destroyer dismisses comeback concerns on city visit

Boxing legend Nigel Benn visited Heart of Portsmouth boxing academy Pic: Neil Marshall

NIGEL BENN dismissed fears for his health as he continues his comeback plans.

Benn is planning a sensational return to the ring at the age of 53 - 21 years after his last contest.

Fights with Steve Collins and Chris Eubank have been mooted for one of the all-time greats of British boxing.

The hall of famer was visiting the city last weekend and showed his conditioning with a two-hour session at Heart of Portsmouth (HOP).

His son, Conor, has been among those to voice their concerns over the prospect of the Dark Destroyer boxing once again.

Benn is adamant he is in better condition than ever, however, after a wild life before finding religion.

And he taunted old rival Eubank - by insisting a clash with Collins would be tougher than meeting the man his faced twice for world titles in the 90s.

Benn said: ‘I feel good and I think I’m looking good.

‘I’m not even switched on yet - when I get nearer the fight I’ll be ready.

‘I understand my son’s concerns. Totally understand that.

‘Where I haven’t been fighting I haven’t been at peace with myself.

‘To have that peacefulness I need that. Whether it’s Eubank or Collins, I don’t care.

‘I could earn treble or four times the amount of fighting Eubank over Collins. I don’t care who it is, though. It’s not about the money.

‘When I rang Steve, I asked him if he wanted to fight. He just wanted to know when - no mucking around. And that’s a harder fight than Eubank.

‘Even if I won the lottery and had £87m I’d still fight. It’s not about the money. I feel happy and content, but this is something different.

‘When I was fighting I had a reckless live. Now, what you see is me. I started smoking at the age of eight. I finished at 41 when I had an encounter with God. It was everything, the spliffs (cannabis), the little fellas (ecstasy) and women - the whole shebang.

‘If I can be voted into the hall of fame and voted the best super-middleweight in history with all that, imagine what I can do now.

‘It’s nothing to do with age. I feel fitter now because I’m caring for myself. I don’t care who I fight, I don’t care where. I just have to strap on my boots and gloves.

‘Everyone doubted me when I fought Gerald McClellan. I know me and I’m fitter now. I know what I can do.

‘It’s in there. I haven’t got closure and until I get that I won’t stop.’

Benn was welcomed to the city as he took part in an ‘audience with’ night before putting HOP talents of all ages and abilities through their paces.

He said: ‘It’s been brilliant. It’s been a good laugh.

‘We had a good work-out and we brought a bit of boxing education to the people. Portsmouth is gritty and working class - my cup of tea. I’ve been welcomed by lovely people.’

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