CONOR BENN smashed a couple of running personal bests by chasing Covid out of his system.
The 24-year-old saw last month’s headline fight with Adrian Granados cancelled when he tested positive just days before.
But the undefeated WBA Continental welterweight champ is back in the gym ahead of the rescheduled clash on September 4 in Leeds.
SunSport visited the son of British ring legend Nigel to witness the medical marvel in action and learn how he beat positive coronavirus tests with an even more positive attitude.
Benn said: “I think it’s been down to my mental strength.
“I know people have all been affected by Covid differently and I mean no disrespect to anyone who has lost their life or suffered seriously with it.
“But I have had to jump straight into another training camp, so mental strength has had to play a massive part.
“The only way I could prove to myself that I am fit and healthy enough to fight so soon after the virus was to be crushing the numbers in the gym and on the track.
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“I had to jump back into hard training while people were telling me I had to be careful and cautious.
“So every time I trained, whether it was early morning runs or sparring in the afternoon, I pushed myself like I never have before to prove that Covid has not affected me long term.”
Benn travels from his family home in Essex to Southend at the crack of dawn to race around the seafront and up and down the brutal 185 steps at Leigh-on-Sea.
It is there — under the cloak of darkness, alongside teenage training partner and Southend United wonderkid Beau MacDonald — that he recorded personal bests just a fortnight after being bedridden.
Benn revealed: “I just took five seconds off my average time for every rep on the Leigh-on-Sea steps and I smashed my quickest five mile by 10sec at 3am on Monday morning.
“The first Covid test I failed was on Wednesday, July 28, but I felt fine.
“Then I had to take a few days off because my muscle soreness was terrible and I was tired and falling asleep on the sofa, like an old man, which I never do.
“My aches and pains were getting me out of bed in the morning and I lost my sense of taste and smell.
“But, apart from that, I had no cough or headache and no other symptoms. I am an elite athlete and this is my job, so I could not let anything get in the way of me becoming a world champion.
“I could not have a doctor tell me I need two weeks’ rest and explain a long list of risks, it would have played on my mind and affected my training.
“I know the risks and I am fine accepting them, thank you.”
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Benn was gutted to be pulled out of the first installment of Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp shows and volunteered to face Granados on the two Saturdays that followed, where he would have remained the star attraction.
Instead he is leaving his ego at home to take his heavyweight appeal to Headingley and support hometown hero Josh Warrington and Olympic legend and undisputed lightweight queen Katie Taylor, with a modest support slot on the packed card.
Benn said: “I am a headline fighter and my Fight Camp show was the only one that sold out — but I am no diva.
“I was doing heavyweight numbers on Sky and I will do them on DAZN but that doesn’t change my attitude, it’s a pleasure to be on Josh Warrington’s undercard.
“I am a fighter and I will fight anywhere and any place.
“When you start complaining about where you are on the bill, you have a problem, it makes no difference to me.
“People will still tune in to watch me fight if I am the first fight on the card, opening the show at six o’clock, because they know they are guaranteed action.”
Conor Benn is a Wow Hydrate and Freetrain athlete.