Boxing Expert & Columnist
Conor Benn faces a 'make or break year' in 2020, says Johnny Nelson
"I see him boxing for a British title next year, he's got to, it can't be any other way."
Last Updated: 23/12/19 6:49pm
Conor Benn is facing a "make or break year" as he battles his rival contenders in a red-hot welterweight division in 2020, says Johnny Nelson.
The unbeaten 23-year-old enhanced his reputation as one of Britain's most exciting talents as he racked up three victories this year, including explosive knockouts of Jussi Koivula and Steve Jamoye.
Sky Sports expert Nelson has been impressed with Benn's recent displays, but believes he is approaching a crucial period in his career which will decide whether he can propel himself beyond the domestic scene.
"I think it's a make or break year for Conor Benn, because now they're going to step him up a level," said Nelson.
"This kid has grown up into a man, in front of us, and answered questions, and been tested, and shown what he's capable of doing, and more.
"He'll now be thrown in deep, but I like everything about him. I like his attitude, very simplistic and very focused.
"It could be a breakout year for him. I see him boxing for a British title next year, he's got to, it can't be any other way."
Benn has been on a collision course with fellow Brit Josh Kelly and Nelson hopes this rivalry will be settled within the next 12 months.
Just like his father Nigel, a former world champion, Benn has embraced the demand for big domestic battles.
Nelson said: "I think Josh Kelly is a brilliant fighter, but Conor has got the heart of his dad, that determined ruggedness, that unpredictability and if he can break Kelly's heart, he wins.
"If Kelly can stick to his boxing, it could be a boxing masterclass.
"Remember this, Nigel Benn was outboxed when he first fought Michael Watson, but he went away and licked his wounds and came back a better fighter, because he learned from that experience.
"Is it history repeating itself, with the same story and different actors? We don't know yet."