Conor Benn has revealed how a gym “war” with Golden Boy’s hot prospect helped to ease the mental torment from his last fight.
The 21-year-old flew out to California for sparring sessions ahead of his return to the ring against Chris Truman on the Amir Khan-Phil Lo Greco bill in Liverpool this Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
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Benn questioned himself after he overcame two knockdowns to defeat Cedrick Peynaud on points in December, but was instilled with fresh belief following a spar with Jonathan Navarro, a highly-rated US talent.
He exclusively told Sky Sports: “What inspires me, is me going to the other side of the world and dealing with the Americans, who are signed to Golden Boy [Promotions] for example.
“When you spar in the UK, you spar with everyone here, you don’t really know where you’re at, but when you take it to America, and you’re sparring is on point, and you’re dealing with them – that gives me confidence.
“I sparred Jonathan Navarro. The Brit went abroad and went to war with him. I fought him on the inside and I thought he would be better on the inside. But I seemed to get the better of him in the spar on the inside.
“It was great, they loved my style over there. I speak fluent Spanish, so I was speaking to them out there as well.”
During a trip to Robert Garcia’s gym, Benn also studied four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia as he sparred with Scotland’s Ricky Burns, a three-weight king himself.
“Watching Mikey Garcia spar, how he just takes his time, you can’t really go wrong,” said Benn.
“When you’re an explosive fighter, when you pick your shots, you can get so much more off, look so much more clean-cut and professional. I’ve learned so much in my time off.
Garcia also displayed his ring skills in a one-sided points win over Adrien Broner
“He sparred Ricky Burns and it was just watching and learning, and absorbing. He barely threw anything in the spars, working on covering up, defence.
“When he did let his hands go, he did let his hands go, but he didn’t throw anything unsure or half intentionally. When he threw, he threw.”
A rematch with Peynaud remains a possibility, although Benn’s frustration has eased after he preserved his unbeaten record by flooring the Frenchman twice at York Hall.
Benn climbed off the canvas twice to defeat Cedrick Peynaud on points
Benn said: “At first I was struggling with that. I was thinking ‘you know what, I need to redeem myself.’ I was losing sleep over it, thinking I wasn’t Conor Benn on the night. Do you know what? Now it’s completely irrelevant.
“It was a learning fight. It was a fight I probably learned more from then all my other fights. A blessing in disguise.
“I’ve not looked too deep into it and I’ve taken from it what I’ve had to. I’m not really bothered. If my trainer wants me to fight him again, I’ll fight him, no problem.
“That’s down to my trainer, but me personally, I’m not really fussed. It’s a learning fight and I’ve learned from it. That’s it, move on.”
Watch Conor Benn versus Chris Truman on the Amir Khan-Phil Lo Greco bill in Liverpool, live on Saturday, April 21, on Sky Sports Main Event & Action, from 7.00pm.