LONDON (Reuters) – Former world champion Nigel Benn said on Thursday he was returning to the ring at the age of 55 in the spirit of a man who grows younger with every year, rather than the “Dark Destroyer” of old.
Benn, who last fought in 1996, is coming out of retirement for a Nov. 23 fight in Birmingham against Cameroon-born Australian Sakio Bika, a 40-year-old ex-world champion.
He said it was because he needed closure and dismissed concern about fighting professionally at his age and after such a long break.
“It’s not the Dark Destroyer no more, because everything synonymous with the Dark Destroyer I don’t want to know,” he told reporters.
“It’s Nigel ‘Benjamin Button’ Benn, the older I get the fitter I am. I’m telling you, 100%. Forget about age. If you watch how I train, it’s not about age.
“This fight is all about me. It wasn’t financial,” he added. “It was always about the closure that I wanted that I never had.”
Benjamin Button was the main character in a 2008 Oscar-winning Hollywood movie about a man who ages in reverse.
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) has refused to licence Benn, with the fight sanctioned instead by the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA).
Benn held the WBO middleweight title in 1990 and the WBC super-middleweight title from 1992-96. His last fight was in November 1996 when he lost to Irishman Steve Collins.
Benn retired with a 42-5-1 record, including 35 wins by KO.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)