Doncaster's Mark Bennett earns plaudits despite defeat to Alen Babic
Alen Babic admitted that Dunsville’s Mark Bennett took him by surprise in their heavyweight slugfest at Matchroom Fight Camp.
The unbeaten Croatian continued his destructive form as he forced Bennett to retire after the fifth round.
But 'The Savage' had to endure a couple of rocky moments in the early rounds as the Doncaster fighter refused to simply lie down and landed some impressive blows.
Bennett, 33, is a former soldier and rugby player who has worked his way up the boxing ranks after starting out in a charity bout.
And Babic was full of praise for his opponent following their scrap at Matchroom HQ in Essex.
“Thank you for having me, it was a very very tough fight,” Babic told DAZN.
“I didn’t expect that – I’ve got to say that. All kudos to him. He’s a very very tough warrior, a legit warrior.
"I threw maybe 100 power punches at his head, and I have knockout punches, so it was a very tough and competitive fight. I thank him for that.
“Left, right and I was like, ‘fall, it’s your time to fall’, but he just didn’t want to fall. He really caught me with a few ones. He didn’t catch me flush because I always bob and weave but he’s a very tough man and I respect him.
“This guy was 30kg heavier than me and you saw what happened, he wasn’t stronger in that ring,” he added.
“I can do everything. I’m here to represent the little people who can’t do nothing. I am just little like them – the smallest heavyweight alive! You can do it if I can do it, I’m nothing special. I just put my mind to it. If you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t do.”
Bennett’s first professional fight was in 2017. His record now stands at 7-2, 1 KO.
Promoter Eddie Hearn also praised the Doncaster fighter’s character.
“For the first three rounds it was a good heavyweight fight,” said Hearn.
“It got a little bit Wetherspoons at times but it was enjoyable.
“You have to give credit to Mark Bennett – he was gassed and he just wouldn’t give up.
“They pulled him out in the end and it was the right move. Babic has thrown about 600 punches in five rounds or something like that, although not all of them connected.”