Undefeated Edinburgh boxer Lewis Benson has revealed the decision to switch promoters has given him a new lease of life he so desperately craved.
Despite having racked up ten wins since signing professional terms with MTK Scotland in summer 2015, the 26-year-old 2014 Commonwealth Games representative admits he had become increasingly frustrated by the lack of opportunities to fight on the big stage.
Having recently severed ties with MTK Scotland, Benson quickly agreed a deal with sister management team, MTK Global, who immediately set out in landing the welterweight a duel he could really get his teeth stuck into.
And boy have they delivered as Benson is preparing go glove-to-glove with Englishman Johnny Coyle, also undefeated (18-0-1), at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena this weekend – a bill topped by Northern Irishman Michael Conlan and will be broadcast live by BT Sport and BoxNation.
Benson firmly believes Saturday night’s showdown is just the platform he’s needed to kick-start his career.
“This is my time to shine now. I’ve had to be patient but the right opportunity has finally come along,” Benson told the Evening News.
“It’s been brilliant since I changed over from MTK Scotland to MTK Global. They’ve got my best interests at heart and are really looking out for me. The offers I had previously been getting just weren’t worth risking my life for.
“I haven’t been active and that shows having fought just twice in the last 15 months, which has been really frustrating. I just haven’t been offered the right deals but it’s not as if I haven’t been training. I’m always in the gym so I’m fit.
This is my first fight this year, although I was set to fight in May but again it just wasn’t right.
“But I didn’t even think twice about taking this fight against Coyle. I’m looking for big fights, I’ve fought journeymen and served my apprenticeship so now is my time to start climbing the rankings. I’ve put my body through hell for this. I think my career will kick off big time when I get this win.”
With big TV exposure this weekend, Benson knows this is a match-up he cannot afford to lose. However, he insists that victory over Coyle, given his opponent’s superior record, will be all the more sweeter.
“It’s a huge test for me but this will put me right in top seven, eight in the division when I get the win,” he said. “It’s two guys who both think they’re the real deal who are ready to put their zeros on the line.
“This is my first big fight and it’s against someone who has 18 wins from 19 fights. I think that shows my ambition and the belief I have. I know what level I’m jumping into. When I’m up against it, that’s when I perform and win all my toughest tests going back to the amateurs.
“This is the biggest fight I’ve had since the Commonwealth Games. But this is the professional game now and you have to take chances. I don’t have a lot of stoppages but I’m strong. I’m not the biggest puncher but I’m accurate with my shots and he’ll find that out.
“It’s a must win if I want to go straight into the Premier League. I don’t want to be taken losses and then having to try and bounce back. I’m an honest guy and I’m ready to make something of myself in this sport.
“The Edinburgh boys (Josh Taylor, Lee McGregor and Tommy Philbin) all got good wins last weekend so I’m ready to do the exact same this time out.”