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Nigel Benn refused licence by BBBofC but fight will still proceed

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Nigel Benn has been refused a licence to box by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) but the 55-year-old is still expected to return to the ring 23 years after his last professional fight.

Former middleweight and super middleweight titleholder Benn has scheduled a press conference for Thursday where he will make “a major announcement relating to his future career”.

It is expected he will confirm his comeback fight against former WBC 168-pound champion Sakio Bika in Birmingham on November 23.

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Bika, 40, of Australia by way of Cameroon, last fought two years ago. The bout is expected to be contested at light heavyweight and will be licensed by the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) rather than the BBBofC.

General secretary of the BBBofC Robert Smith refused to entertain the idea of licencing Benn given his age and time away from the ring.

“We were approached by Nigel Benn a few months ago inquiring whether we would grant him a licence, but he was told that we would not consider it, given his age and how long he has been away from the sport,” Smith told The Telegraph.

“We will not be licensing this event, it will not be under our jurisdiction. That has not stopped Nigel being a guest at our annual awards dinner on Friday night, as he is a treasured member of the boxing community.”

According to son Conor Benn, a professional boxer in his own right, Benn Sr got the boxing bug again after watching him train.

“He got the itch watching me train and wanted to have another fight,” he said.

Benn last fought in 1996 when he lost his rematch to Steve Collins, retiring with a record of 42-5-1 (35).

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