Nigel Benn is set to make a stunning comeback to professional boxing 23 years after his last fight, but will not do so under the banner of the British Boxing Board of Control.
The former world super-middleweight champion is set to announce his comeback this week as he will confirm his next fight for November 23 in Birmingham, under the British and Irish Federation of Boxing.
His opponent is rumoured to be Sakio Bika, who fought Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward during his time in the sport.
At 55 years of age, Benn was not granted a licence from the British Boxing Board of Control.
General Secretary of the BBBofC Robert Smith confirmed to The Telegraph that they would not even consider granting Benn a licence due to his age and time away from the sport.
“We were approached by Nigel Benn a few months ago inquiring whether we would grant him a licence, but he was told that we would not consider it, given his age and how long he has been away from the sport,” he said.
“We will not be licensing this event, it will not be under our jurisdiction.
“That has not stopped Nigel being a guest at our annual awards dinner on Friday night, as he is a treasured member of the boxing community.”
The ‘Dark Destroyer’ has not fought since 1996, after back-to-back defeats against Steve Collins followed a loss to Thalami Malinga.
Benn retired with a record of 42 wins and five losses, and was perhaps best known for his rivalry with Chris Eubank, who he continues to call out for a trilogy fight.
After retiring, Benn moved to Australia and continued training, hoping for a fight against Eubank.
His son, Conor, is a professional in his own right and has made a blistering start to life in the pro game.
And apparently watching his 22-year-old offspring prepare for a fight got him in the mood to give it one last shot.
“He got the itch watching me train and wanted to have another fight,” Benn told the Telegraph.
Benn’s comeback will be at light-heavyweight, one division up from the super-middleweight division he ruled during his career.
Bika also fought at 168lbs during his career, winning the WBC and IBO world titles.