Ultimate Boxxer heavyweight runner-up Mark Bennett (7-1) heads back to ring on April 4 at North Notts Arena in Worksop on a Boxing Connected show.
‘Bad News’ Bennett was last seen reaching the Ultimate Boxxer heavyweights tournament final last December, live on BT Sport.
The 32-year-old from Doncaster met Nick Webb (16-2) in the final, but was outpointed over the three rounds, narrowly missing out on the lion’s share of the £50k prize fund.
Now, the father of four is ready to step back through the ropes on the first weekend of April.
Speaking exclusively to British Boxing News, he said of his next fight, “I think it’s going to be a six rounder, not sure who against, but I’ll fight anyone. I’m coming back from surgery – nothing sports related – so I’ll get fit again and fight.”
Bennett had moved up to six rounds in his last fight preceding the Ultimate Boxxer tournament when he defeated Miles Willington (1-5) last June back at the North Notts Arena.
Eager to progress quickly, Bennett was put forward by promoter Joe Elfidh for the Central Area title immediately after he had defeated Dorian Darch (12-6-1) in his second pro fight. Another two impressive wins placed him in pole position to challenge the titleholder Kash Ali, but following a suspension for publicly biting David Price during their fight last March, the title has remained dormant ever since.
‘Bad News’ still has ambitions to fight for the vacant title, he explained, “I want to get this fight out the way, then hopefully fight for the Central Area or maybe the English title. I want to fight Nick Webb again, us two for the English heavyweight title would make sense. It would be a different fight over 10 rounds, I’d like it to happen.”
Webb bettered a visibly fatigued Bennett in their tournament final live on BT Sport at the Planet Ice in Altrincham, winning 30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards. Bennett wants another shot at the only man to defeat him to even the score.
“I’d say its unfinished business, I made hard work on the night of every fight. I had extra two rounds and two really hard fights fought when I went into the final and he was fresher than me. Not taking that away from him, but I’d like to fight him over 10 rounds.”
Manager Joe Elfidh added, "I think it'd be a different story with a level playing field when they're both fresh, it'd be a different fight. Mark got the rough end of the deal with the Ultimate Boxxer draw and got given the hard route to the final. Mark's fought some top guys already and he's game, he'll fight anyone."
From an unlicensed boxing background to headlining small hall shows was already a big achievement for Bennett, but performing live on TV has been his biggest platform to date.
“From start to finish, Ultimate Boxxer was a brilliant experience,” he beamed. “From the press conference at BT Towers in London to the buildup, the big stage, live on BT Sport, and the social media promotion; even now there’s clips being shared of me online.”
A taste of the big time has incentivised the Donny boxer to chase bigger and better fights.
“There’s names out there I’d like to have a pop at, Nick Webb already knows I want to fight him again, but I don’t want to stand on the rooftops shouting out names.
“Tom Little is a good name I’d love to fight; Fabio Wardley would be good because he’s at English title level.
“The reason I was previously pushing for a fight against Kash Ali was because I wanted that Central Area title, but after his fight with David Price he doesn’t hold it anymore. I’d still fight him, if the offer came in then I’d take it, but hasn’t got anything to bring to the table now. Nothing against him but the only reason I wanted to fight him before was just solely for that title.”
After a short respite over Christmas followed by some recovery time from surgery, Bennett is ready to get back to business in April.
“Ideally, I’ll have this six-rounder next, then I want to be let of the leash. I’ve had eight pro fights now and I want to be showcasing against big names, live on the tele.
“One of my major things is that I don’t stay in the gym, I’m a working man with four kids, to stay in the gym is hard, so I need to keep myself fit, keep ticking over, and hopefully the phone will ring.
“I’m going to get back fit, stay in gym, stay ready, then take it from there.”
Super-welterweight Declan Cairns (2-0), 22 from Worksop, joins Bennett on the card, with more names due to be added shortly.
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