THRILLER!! Nigel Benn vs Michael Watson RARE official on-site thin cardboard stock poster with Benn impersonating Micheal Jackson stating "MICHAEL I'M BAD AND YOU KNOW IT!", 21st May 1989, Finsbury Park Supertent, London. Measuring 15" x 10".
Condition mint - The poster was issued with 2 top holes for hanging purposes
Watson W TKO 6
*Benn defended his Commonwealth title against Michael Watson. Throwing nothing but hooks, Benn repeatedly failed to get through Watson's tight guard, and gradually tired whilst being stunned numerous times himself.
In the sixth round, Watson knocked Benn down with a jab and Benn was counted out as he rose to his feet, albeit by a somewhat hasty referee's count.
Nigel Benn (born 22 January 1964), known as "The Dark Destroyer", who held World titles in the middleweight and super middleweight divisions.
Benn was also in the British Army, where he served in The Troubles for 18 months. He attended Loxford School of Science and Technology, Ilford, Greater London. Now he lives in Sydney, Australia with his family.
Barbadian British, Benn comes from a sporting family that includes a famous cousin in the football World, Paul Ince, who would often accompany Benn to the ring for his UK fights.
Benn had a record of 41 wins and 1 loss as an amateur boxer, with the loss being against Rod Douglas, who Benn later defeated.
Professional Boxing Career
Benn turned professional in 1987 and began a streak of consecutive knockout wins. During this time, Benn won the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title with a second round win over Abdul Umaru.
At 22-0 (22 KOs), Benn defended his Commonwealth title against Michael Watson in a heavily hyped bout in May 1989 at Finsbury Park, London. Throwing nothing but hooks, Benn repeatedly failed to get through Watson's tight guard, and gradually tired whilst being stunned numerous times himself.
In the sixth round, Watson knocked Benn down with a jab and Benn was counted out as he rose to his feet, albeit by a somewhat hasty referee's count.
His next fight, against Jorge Amparo in Atlantic City, U.S., was his first fight abroad and also the first to last the full distance, with Benn winning a 10 round decision.
WBO Middleweight Champion
After two more wins, against Sanderline Williams and Jose Quinones, Benn fought WBO middleweight title holder Doug DeWitt of the USA in Atlantic City. Benn was knocked down in round two, but came back to knock DeWitt down in round three, then score three knockdowns in round eight to win the title.
His first defence came in August 1990 against former WBC champion Iran Barkley, whom he floored three times and stopped on the three-knockdown rule at the end of the first round. Benn returned to the UK and met British rival Chris Eubank. They fought in Birmingham on 18 November 1990.
Benn lost his title to Eubank when the referee stopped the fight in the ninth round.
WBC Super Middleweight Champion
Benn then went on a winning streak of six fights leading up to another World title challenge. In 1991, he beat Marvin Hagler's half brother, Robbie Sims, by a knockout in round seven, followed by a close, disputed decision win against Thulani Malinga, and a one-punch KO victory against Dan Sherry.
On 10 October 1992, Benn challenged Mauro Galvano for the WBC super middleweight title in Palaghiaccio de Marino, Marino, Lazio, Italy. After a controversial dispute at ringside over the official result after Galvano was unable to continue due to a severe cut, Benn was declared the winner and won the title by a fourth-round TKO.
He defended it against fellow Britons Nicky Piper and Lou Gent, and a rematch victory over Mauro Galvano, before meeting rival Chris Eubank (who was now the WBO super middleweight champion) again on 9 October 1993. This time they fought to a disputed draw, both fighters retaining their respective titles. Benn successfully defended his title twice more in 1994 with unanimous decisions against fellow Briton Henry Wharton, and Juan Carlos Giminez
Benn vs McClellan
In February 1995, Benn defended his 168lb title against WBC middleweight champion Gerald McClellan in a highly anticipated bout billed as "Sudden Impact". Most American experts gave Benn little chance. In an exciting fight Benn was knocked through the ropes in the first round and was knocked down again in the eighth round, however Benn managed to twice work his way back into the fight and was able to stop McClellan in the tenth round. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had McClellan ahead and one had the fight even.
Unfortunately, however, McClellan was severely injured as a result of the fight. After collapsing in his corner after the fight had finished, McClellan was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had developed a blood clot on the brain. To this day McClellan is almost completely blind, partially deaf, and uses a wheelchair, although he has regained some movement and can walk with a cane. In 2007, McClellan, his wife and children attended a benefit dinner organized and hosted by Benn to help McClellan with his ongoing medical expenses.
Two more defences followed against future WBC title-holder Vincenzo Nardiello and American Danny Perez, before Benn lost his title with an uncharacteristically lack lustre performance to old rival Malinga in 1996.
Benn twice attempted to take the WBO super middleweight title from Steve Collins but failed in both attempts: losing by TKO in four in the first fight after sustaining an ankle injury.
He retired following the second loss to Collins in 1996, retiring on his stool at the end of the sixth-round.
Nigel Benn retired from the sport of boxing and became a DJ, He later appeared in the first series of the ITV reality TV show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.
Benn has since developed a strong faith and now lives with his family in Sydney, Australia, where he is a born again Christian. He also became an ordained minister.
Benn's autobiography, published in 2001, is called Dark Destroyer.
Benn is also featured in the documentary film "Fallen Soldier", directed by Bobby Razak, which examines his bout with McClellan.
Nigel is also a Patron of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, a UK Children's Charity based in the North West, helping children with life threatening conditions and their families. www.shannonstrust.org.uk
* Amateur boxing: 41 wins 1 loss
* Undefeated Welterweight for the First Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 1982 and 1984 - won titles all the way up to heavyweight and trained others in his regiment's boxing team
*1986 ABA Middleweight Champion, avenging a previous loss to Rod Douglas.
Michael Watson (born March 15, 1965). During his fighting days he had the reputation as the nice guy of British boxing, the people's choice who kept to himself (which contrasted sharply with the likes of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank who both demanded the limelight). He did not fulfil his dream of becoming World champion as a result of his career being cut short and ending prematurely through tragedy, but many in England see him as a hero.
Watson took up boxing at the age of fourteen after being beaten up by the local bully, an issue that would be rectified later on in his career with a victory over Nigel Benn. He started out at the Crown and Manor boxing club, where he proved to be a quick learner, winning the 1980 London Schools title in the under-71kg weight class.
Due to over-confidence in his abilities, especially his powerful right hand, he lost his first fight in the 1981 Junior ABA final against Garry Sanderson. He looked impressive during the 1980/81 national tournament, making smart movements and being smooth in the delivery of his punches. In the semi-finals he finally lost to former champion and southpaw Roy Carroll.
Though he lost, he still had an impressive 20-2 record at the Crown and Manor Club and with this experience he moved to the Colvestone Boxing Club.
At the Colvestone Club, Michael trained and sparred for over a year with Kirkland Laing, Dennis Andries, and Darren Dyer, an English star known as "The Phantom". After this, he entered the 1983/84 Nationals at under-75kg and won the title. This led him to pursue his first senior championship the following year. On his 19th birthday, he fought John Beckles, the premier English boxer, during the 1984 London ABAs. The fight was highly anticipated due to both Beckles and Watson being national champions. This match was also seen as a huge rivalry since Beckles boxed for the Islington Boxing Club and Watson's hometown was Islington. Watson entered as a big underdog but ended the fight in just over 30 seconds (Beckles went on to win medals at the European and World Championships over the next few years). Following this big win for Watson he was seen as Great Britain's best hope for a medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Unfortunately, due to over-confidence again he suffered a huge setback in the 1984 British ABA semi-finals when he lost to Scotland's Russell Barker. Because of this loss, Watson's place on the Olympic team was taken by Liverpool's Brian Schumacher, who easily beat Barker in the final. This was also seen as disappointing since Watson had beaten Schumacher, the son of German parents, twice previously. Watson did end up travelling to Los Angeles with the Great Britain Olympic team as a reserve. Another huge match in Watson's career came two years after his poor showing in 1984. In his seventh professional fight, he took on reigning European amateur champion Carlton Warren. If Warren beat Watson he was promised a shot at Herol 'Bomber' Graham, the greatest post-war British boxer never to win a World title, as early as his fifth pro fight. Warren and Watson went at it in Royal Albert Hall in London, both boxers fighting as if it were the end of the World, with Watson coming out on top in the end.
Surprisingly, coins were thrown into the ring after Watson's arm was raised. It was a token of appreciation for Watson's skills, and boxing history was made that night because it was the last time this occurrence came up (the term 'nobbins' referred to an old practice in boxing of throwing coins into the ring but this rarely ever happened). His defeat at the hands of future European champion James Cook came shortly after his victory over Warren but came at a good time in Watson's career. The match was decided on points, so it showed that he was out-hussled and out-worked rather than out-boxed or out-classed. Soon after there was talk of fights with Dennis Andries or Tony Sibson because Watson was struggling to make the middleweight class weight limit and this was seen as taking away the delivery he used to have in his right hand.
In the end he remained a middleweight and racked up seven wins between his loss to Cook and his first bout in 1988.
By the time 1988 came around, the smooth-boxing Watson was getting frustrated at Mickey Duff's inability to land him fights with ranked opposition. He got his wish when he stepped in as a late substitute to face top-rated Dangerous Don Lee, a switch-hitting American. Lee was the most feared and avoided middleweight of the early-to-mid 80's, but was not quite the same by the time he fought Watson. Lee was supposed to have been fighting Herol Graham in a WBA elimination fight, and nobody seemed to give Watson much chance because Lee was going to let out his frustrations at Graham pulling out late onto Watson. A young Gerald McClellan, future World middleweight champion, was in London working as Lee's sparring partner. Watson stood with Lee for five rounds and came out on top. That victory set-up a 10-round IBF elimination fight with Michael Olajide at Caesar's Palace, as chief support for the Frank Tate-Michael Nunn fight.
Michael Watson had arrived, or so he thought. Olajide pulled out of the fight at the last-minute, and Watson disappointingly had to settle for fighting late-replacement Israel Cole. That fight only lasted two rounds after an accidental headbutt by Watson led to Cole being cut and the match being called a draw. Three more wins for Watson set him up for his revenge against Nigel Benn in 1989.
On May 21, 1989, Nigel Benn, the power-puncher and former East End Army hero was 22-0 with 22 KO's and was guaranteed a multi-million dollar Las Vegas showdown with Michael Nunn if he knocked out Watson. It was thought that Nigel Benn would quickly take care of Watson, that 'The Dark Destroyer' was supposed to conquer the World. In Watson's first fight on terrestrial ITV (his fights had been shown on BBC on Saturday afternoons), and his first fight screened World-wide (including live across America on free TV), he put on a counter-punching clinic to shock the World with a classic 'rope-a-dope' in a tent at Finsbury Park. He surprised everyone with his peek-a-boo style, timing, and accuracy in seemingly exposing Benn as nothing more than a paper tiger. Watson was seen as old-fashioned and reserved when compared to Benn, who had a very flashy ring entrance, coming out to Conroy Smith's 'Dangerous'. Watson was able to show Nigel Benn who was the best by knocking him out with a jab in the sixth. Thus completing his revenge from his earlier days, he went on to fight six more times. He went 3-3 in those last six bouts.
The Benn victory, for the Commonwealth title, set-up a World title clash with Jamaican legend Mike 'The Body Snatcher' McCallum. However, the fight was postponed twice and when it did finally take place Watson had been out of the ring for almost an entire year and was going into the fight with a bout of the flu and a fractured nose. Also, Watson's team gave him late instructions to move forward a lot more than usual and throw a large quantity of punches at McCallum in a much different style than Watson had ever used before (to try to pressure the older pro McCallum as if they thought his legs may go in the later rounds). That had never been Watson's style; Watson's best attribute was counter-punching. Had he counter-punched McCallum instead of attack him, and had the fight not been postponed, Watson probably would have won.
But instead, McCallum used his head to pace himself and land more accurately to steal rounds, until Watson collapsed in as much exhaustion as pain in the eleventh round. "People ask me if I took Michael too lightly and I tell them they are mad. I knew how good he was and I knew just how good I would have to be to beat him", said McCallum, when reflecting on his career.
It is ironic that Nigel Benn won his World title shot in the very month that Watson lost his World title shot.
Watson fought Errol Christie (once the golden boy of British boxing) on the Benn-Eubank undercard and was disgusted when given just a measly £10,000 for his work, whereas Benn and Eubank picked up a combined £1million that night.
Watson easily beat Errol Christie that night. Enter Chris Eubank, June 1991 at Earl's Court, another shot at the World Middleweight title. A crowd of over 12,000 packed the historic hall and witnessed a classic encounter. The fight was close, but most ringside observers believed that Michael had done enough and the 14 million viewers watching it live on ITV were also convinced that Michael had won. In the days that followed, the nation's leading newspapers ran polls that asked their readers for their opinions on the decision. The verdict was unanimous: The People's Champion was declared the winner. The story of the fight dominated the back pages of the newspapers for days.
A few weeks after the controversial fight, September 21, 1991, a re-match was announced. In the ring that night at White Hart Lane the two boxers pushed themselves to their very limits. For one, it was nearly too far. The fight ended in round 12 when the referee, Roy Francis, put himself between Eubank's fists and Watson's head and stopped the World title fight. Next, chaos ensued as Watson suddenly collapsed inside the ring. In need of quick medical help, he faced some dire moments: there were neither ambulances nor paramedics at the event and as a result Watson had to endure 30 minutes without oxygen. He was finally provided with an oxygen mask after an ambulance had been rushed from a nearby hospital.
This extended time without oxygen proved vital in the outcome of Watson's future, and he spent 40 days in a coma after six brain operations to remove a blood clot. It is believed that the time Watson spent without oxygen is one of the longest anyone has ever survived.
Chris Eubank himself was profoundly affected by these events: he came very close to quitting boxing and in the remaining fights of his career he would often back off when he had an opponent hurt, and went through difficult emotional times, as many boxers do after the serious injury of an opponent.
Watson woke from his coma, but even then, his prognosis was not good. His neurosurgeon was afraid he would never speak or walk again. He spent many years in hospital, slowly recovering some of his movements, and regaining the ability to eat regular food, read, and write simple notes. Even so, in 1999, his neurosurgeon wrote that Watson would never be able to walk again. Soon after, the doctor's prognosis began to change, as Watson started getting out of bed and beginning walking therapy. But his doctor was still guarded: he said that Watson would have a hard time walking half the length of a room. On April 19, 2003, Michael Watson made headlines and became an instant English national hero when he completed, after six days, the London Marathon. Finishing the race by his side were Chris Eubank and his neurosurgeon, who had become his personal friends.
On February 4, 2004, Watson was awarded the MBE by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. She told him that she had heard of his achievements. Watson was overjoyed and noted that this was his family's first actual visit to Buckingham Palace, although they had passed in front of the Palace many times before.
Another of Nigel Benn's rivals, Gerald McClellan, went through a similar, life threatening situation, but McClellan's emergency, unlike Watson's, occurred after a fight with Benn himself. McClellan was also told he'd never be able to talk or walk again, but he has slowly been recovering both abilities too. The BBBC, Britain's governing boxing commission, was enraged that there were no paramedics at the site of the Eubank/Watson fight, stating that not only the boxers but also the larger public might be in danger if another medical emergency occurred during a boxing event in Britain.
As a consequence of this, the regulatory body made it mandatory that boxing promoters have ambulances, doctors and paramedics on the site of any bout. Watson was awarded £1 million, most of it to cover for his medical expenses.