Dubliner Steve Collins and Nigel Benn’s rematch fight could be a non-starter with doubts cast over whether bout would get a licence.
The British Boxing Board of Control has confirmed that it has not received boxer licence applications for either fighter, with its general secretary calling the bout “unlikely”.
Collins, 52, and Benn, 53, have agreed to the fight, which would be the third meeting between the pair, after Benn put the idea to Collins in a phone conversation.
Collins and Benn are both former two-weight world champions at middleweight and super-middleweight, and last met in the ring in 1996, when Collins defeated Benn twice that year.
Robert Smith, the general secretary of the BBBofC, said: “You’re talking about two gentlemen who haven’t boxed for donkey’s years, but there’s nothing for us to consider at the moment.”
Smith confirmed that there was no upper age limit and that the only age restriction for fighters applying is that they must be over 18, but he added: “The older you get, the more unlikely it is” and said that he would be “surprised” if anyone wanted to promote the fight.
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Steve Bunce, said: “If it was a charity match, the British Boxing Board of Control might turn a blind eye. But neither would make enough money.
“They will not fight in this country under BBBofC rules. You can forget that. That means it will take place under a Maltese licence or some other foreign body.”
However, Benn has told BBC 5 live that there are “other avenues” for getting a licence, and that he expects the fight to take place in October or November of this year.
There is precedence and in 2012 British fighters David Haye and Dereck Chisora obtained clearance from Luxembourg’s boxing federation for their fight at Upton Park.
The motivation for the two fighters couldn’t be more different. While Collins has freely admitted that his decision was financially driven, Benn has said he is looking for “closure”.
“It’s about the final chapter. It’s about closure,” said Benn.
“I was going backwards and forwards with Chris [Eubank] and I thought: ‘I wouldn’t have a problem with Steve.’ So I asked him if he wants to fight. He said yes. No mucking about.”
Collins, whose attempt to come out of retirement in 1999 was short-lived when he collapsed during a sparring session, said: “It’s just about money, a payday which will allow me to buy some more land.
“I have no problem with Nigel. I have a lot of respect. I like him.”
Eddie Hearn, who oversees Matchroom Sport’s boxing events, told Sky Sports: “It would be almost sad to see those guys return to the ring. Nigel is in great shape.
“I watched him growing up and he’s one of my favourite fighters of all time. For me, sit on the sofa and enjoy the legacy you created in this sport.”