NIGEL Benn was a knock-out with Sunderland boxing fans when he visited a city pub.
The Dark Destroyer was guest of honour at a sportsman’s dinner at the Queen Vic in Roker.
Nigel was fantastic – he was saying how much he loves coming to the North East because the people here are so warm and friendly.Amy Pink
The sell-out event was organised by promotor Amy pink, who was delighted with the response from the audience.
“It was a sell-out. There are so many Nigel Benn fans in Sunderland,” she said. “It went brilliantly. It was a great night with a great atmosphere.
“Nigel was fantastic – he was saying how much he loves coming to the North East because the people here are so warm and friendly.”
The former Commonwealth and WBO middleweight and WBC super-middleweight champion had been brutally honest about his highs and lows, both in and out of the ring, said Amy.
“He was telling stories about his boxing career and his past, about some of the troubles he has had with drink and drugs.
“It was fascinating stuff, really honest.
“Everyone goes through hard times and it is nice to see someone who is successful who has gone through their own dark time and come through.”
Amy regularly organises sportsman’s dinners and boxers are always a big draw.
Nigel Benn had been a particularly popular choice, she said.
“Everyone loves boxing, so there is a lot of interest,” she said. “I just asked the regulars who they would like to see and they said ‘Nigel Benn,’ so we got in touch with his management about bringing him up.”
Benn hung up his gloves in 1996 and has enjoyed a number of careers since retirement, working as an internationally-recognised DJ and appearing on the hit reality TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here.’
He now lives in Sydney, Australia, where he trains amateur and professional boxers and works with young people at risk of becoming involved in crime.
But he is now looking forward to getting back in the ring at the age of 51 and going toe-to-toe with the man who was his biggest rival at the height of his career.
“He is making a comeback,” said Amy.
“He is going to fight Chris Eubank and he said he feels fitter and stronger now than he has done in years.”