Conor Benn wanted to send a message to other fighters in the welterweight division that he will be someone to watch out for in the future. It didn’t take much time for him to make that case on Saturday night.
Within 1 minute and 20 seconds into the first round, Benn landed a series of power shots on Samuel Vargas which forced Vargas to the ropes, and referee Michael Alexander stepped in to stop the bout giving Benn his 12th knockout victory of his pro career (18-0, 12 KOs). Vargas suffered his seventh pro loss and his fourth in the last six bouts (31-7-2, 14 KOs).
Leading into the fight at Copper Box Arena both fighters were chatting back and forth as to what they could or could not do, but it was Benn who used his speed to overwhelm Vargas. The 24 year old from Ilford threw a combination within the first 30 seconds that sent Vargas back, and another combination within the next 40 seconds started the onslaught from Benn that included right uppercuts and right hooks to pin Vargas to the ropes, forcing the referee to put a halt to the fight.
Benn was energetic after the fight as he echoed his statements about what he was going to do in the ring. “I told you lot I’d knock him out in the first round,” he said. “I was cool, calm and collected. (Vargas) was telling me he was ready to fight, and he was talking a good game. He said I had no power. It’s irrelevant because a lot of people can talk. My shots were landing flush. You could tell they were hurting him.”
The confidence was coming out of Benn with this victory, as Vargas had been in the ring with other fighters that are at or near the top of the division. “Errol Spence, Danny Garcia, Vergil Ortiz, Amir Khan – nobody banged him out like that. First round, first round! He came and he was game.”
While Vargas was game to start out, it was the power punches from Benn that he could not handle. That power could carry Benn through some fights in the future, but he thinks that he is ready for high-level competition now. He did not hesitate to call out the veterans and former champions of the division.
“Give me Amir Khan. I can deal with pressure. I can cope with it. I’m ready for the top dogs – Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner? Forget the word prospect, I ain’t a prospect no more.”
Cover photo by Dave Thompson of Matchroom Boxing