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The Dark Destroyer By Nigel Benn

Release date: 25th February, 2017
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

List Price: £18.99
Our Price: £11.89
You Save: £7.1 (37%)
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While many of us use the verb ‘hate’ far too flippantly – to describe our dislike of a particular food or TV presenter, for instance – the word seems more applicable in some spheres than in others.

Surprisingly, boxing isn’t necessarily an area that automatically breeds hatred of a sporting opponent. On the contrary: most boxers appreciate that to be successful, they must master the skill, strategies and even artistry involved in their sport; hating an opponent is likely to result in a lack of focus, not a particularly brilliant tactic when someone is trying to knock your block off.

More than a quarter century ago, however, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, two exceptionally talented prize fighters, clearly loathed each other. Their mutual dislike saw each man target the other with frequent torrents of offensive comments and obnoxious sneers, their mutual abhorrence fanned by promoters and broadcasters alike; boxing fans were less engrossed by their respective insults.

Finally, the pair ‘got it together’ in November 1990 in a duel for the WBO Middleweight title; it would prove to be one of the most ferocious, blood-curdling contests ever staged in Britain. After standing toe-to-toe for almost nine rounds, the referee stopped the fight, awarding the decision to Eubank. In the fight’s immediate aftermath, the mutual hatred failed to subside, although because a rematch took three years to arrange, their meeting in October 1993 was less intense; it ended in a draw.

Nigel Benn’s career was defined by those two fights against Eubank. His ‘Dark Destroyer’ moniker was well-suited when he was up against less talented opponents, but critics would argue that his first professional defeat (to Michael Watson) and the loss to Eubank the following year exposed his shortcomings.

Nevertheless, this former Fusilier, who spent almost five years in the Army, was still good enough to become a world champion at three different weights, a feat beyond the ability of most.

The burning sense of anger that propelled Benn from being a successful amateur to world professional champion took a long time to subside – a state of affairs for which his wife and a well-known hypnotist take great credit – but readers will finish this book suspecting that Chris Eubank is (and never will be) on his Christmas card list.


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