Ahead of Eubank Jr vs Benn, we secured this Conor Benn pre-fight interview to get an insight into his fitness, focus and big-fight plan…
Conor Benn goes head-to-head with Chris Eubank Jr on Saturday (8 October) at London’s O2 Arena – reincarnating one of British boxing’s greatest rivalries almost three decades after their fathers’ (Chris Eubank Sr and Nigel Benn) final clash.
Men’s Fitness gained access to Everlast ambassador Benn at his pre-fight camp, just days before Eubank Jr vs Benn, to find out just how tough this training block has been.
Men’s Fitness: How’s the pre-fight camp gone for this one Conor, and what’s it involved?
Conor Benn: “Pre-fight camp is all about making weight and focusing the mind. Making weight is a massive hurdle; especially performing well while having to make weight. But it’s something we just have to do. The focus is on maintaining – if not beating – personal bests in my track work, my strength and conditioning and my sparring.”
MF: What do you enjoy most about being in camp?
CB: “The recovery! And I probably like the sprints the least. But seriously, sparring is probably my favourite element of a pre-fight camp.”
MF: How much sparring are you doing as the fight approaches?
CB: “Three days a week, and it varies from doing short three-, four- or six-minute rounds with short rests right through to doing a full 36 minutes straight (12 x 3-minute rounds). My sparring partners are chosen based on their similarity to my opponent: they throw similar kinds of shots. But size was a main factor I needed for this camp, which means sparring against light heavyweights, middle weights and super middleweights.”
MF: What nutritional changes do you need to make in the approach to a fight?
CB: “I’m still eating the same sort of food that I would normally – just more of it to fuel all my training sessions. My favourite dish is a salmon stir-fry with miso, noodles, soy sauce, a little bit of peanut butter, a little bit of honey and a stir fry mix. That’s my go-to.
“Supplement-wise I take creatine, beta alanine, omega-3 and vitamin D tablets, and I try to get a lot of vitamins from fruit.”
MF: How much of being in camp is about mental focus?
CB: “It’s mainly about the mental preparation. Physically you know what you can do. The mental aspect is about making sure you’re switched on and focused. My team and my circle, they make it as easy as they possibly can for me to just focus on the one task at hand.”
MF: And do your team help ease the tension in any way?
CB: “I don’t need to easy the tension. I don’t need no escape. I fought for this. I don’t need to go, ‘Oh, yeah, let me take time out to watch this, or let me go here.’ I don’t want to escape. I’m built for this. It’s what I want to be a part of and what I want going on around me. I’m going in and having a fight.”
MF: And going into that ring – what does that feel like?
CB: “I’ll probably have butterflies in my belly. I’ll wake up with those. But that’s as far as it goes. You either let the feeling of pressure overwhelm you, or you don’t allow that to happen.
“The butterflies for me are a sign my body and mental state is primed and ready for war. That’s the way I look at it. I never let the occasion or the anticipation drain me. I don’t overthink it. I’m going into war. And these butterflies are good.”
MF: What happens if that ‘war’ doesn’t go to your fight plan. How do you and your team turn that around?
CB: “I will adapt it myself right there in the ring. That’s what makes a great fighter: the ability to adapt midway through a fight and change your game plan. You find ways to work on what will work against that opponent – and eliminate what doesn’t. Ultimately, I’m in a fight and I will find the holes. And I will exploit those holes even if he’s changed up his whole tactics and game plan. I will find a way to adjust, come back and deliver.”
Everlast ambassador Conor Benn was speaking ahead of his upcoming fight against Chris Eubank Jr. To shop the latest Everlast training range, visit sportsdirect.com/everlast
You can watch Eubank Jr vs Benn on pay-per-view channel Dazn UK, for £19.99.