Updated: Oct 28, 2019
Away from the glitz and glam of boxing's biggest night, there is an interesting story developing. This story involves a journeyman from Birmingham who is defying the odds at every turn, taking the unbeaten records of four up-and-coming prospects over a five-fight streak. This man is Ben Fields, a humble, everyday guy who just loves a tear up.
When Ben Fields got into boxing he did it to get his life back on track. After falling in with the wrong crowd, Fields did a short stretch in prison. Upon his release Fields realized he needed some direction in life and like so many young men looking to better themselves he took up boxing.
“I’d always known boxing, my grandad always used to tell me stories of Ali and Frazier, but I was never really exposed to boxing," said Fields
"In my early 20’s I was still getting into trouble, but I went to the gym and put the gloves on and I remember enjoying it. I remember being punched in the head and liking the feeling of it. It was the buzz and I enjoyed my first spars.”
Ben turned professional in 2018 at the age of 27, handing MJ Hall (0-17-1) a defeat on points in Coventry. After adding two more wins to his record over Youssef Al Hamidi (16-122-4) and the debuting Jamie Collins, Fields sat with a perfect 3-0 record. Despite this early success, Fields admitted that he had no ambition of big nights and title fights when he turned professional.
Fields would then embark on the journeyman role in boxing. He surrended his unbeaten record in his next contest to Muhammad Al Zahid (2-0) and would also drop his next fight to Ramon Perez (1-0). Fields would continue to sparsely pick up wins over his next seven fights, but he always came to fight and, like most journeyman, Fields can certainly take a shot, having never been stopped in his pro career.
However, after a defeat to unbeaten Kane Gardner (8-0) something seemed to change in Fields. He felt like he had never gone in a fight and got beaten up, and at times felt like he hadn’t got a fair shake on the scorecards.
“My losses have been very close fights, even that Al Zahid fight a lot of people said it could have been a draw." said the Brummie native.
"I’ve never been in there and been beaten up, I’ve been in with some good lads, ABA champions and ABA finalists, but you see some fighters who get out of the ring and they’re glad to be out of there. That hasn’t happened to me yet, I’ve come away and lost but I’ve never been beaten up.”
Two weeks after the original contest between Gardner and Fields, Kane found himself scrambling around for a late notice replacement after his original opponent pulled out citing injury. In stepped Fields on less than an afternoon notice.
“I remember going into the first fight, he stopped his last four or five opponents. Everyone was warning me about his power. I remember it was a six-rounder, for the first four rounds I let him do what he does well, tee up with the jab and let the backhand go. But in the fifth and six rounds something switched, I started to pressure him, and I spoke to my manager who said make it my fight.
After getting that win on the huge card - the Hughie Fury undercard - I thought if I’m beating lads like him then let's go for it, let’s see how far we can go.”
After besting Gardner, Fields found himself fighting four more undefeated, up and coming prospects. On paper these contests seemed as straightforward as any, an unbeaten prospect coming in to pad his record against a journeyman. But this was anything but straightforward.
Fields was handed a draw with Denis Denikajev (3-0) in his next outing, but he followed this draw up with three consecutive wins, the first time he has managed three wins in a row since his pro debut. Fields handed Sean Daly (8-0), Andrew Fleming (7-0) and Nathan Bennet (7-0) the first defeats of their pro careers, improving his own record to 8-7-2 whilst also cementing himself as a fighter not to be overlooked.
“I’ve always entered the ring as an underdog and now when I enter the ring there’s the expectation of Ben Fields is a good fighter, but I’m an easy, laidback sort of person, so I don’t really get carried away so even though people are talking about me and I’m getting people's attention I do try and keep it real, I know where I come from and my capabilities so I try not to get carried away with what people say.”
Fields has quickly established himself as the boogeyman for unbeaten fighters from super lightweight to light middleweight and Fields has now put himself within touching distance of an English title shot, with a quick warm-up points victory over Ben Adaway (9-60-4) in front of a home town crowd – a rarity for Fields who has only fought in Birmingham three times in his pro career – on Saturday night, he is now penciled in to fight Lee Appleyard (15-5-1) in an English Super Lightweight title eliminator on the 23rd of November in Barnsley. This will be the biggest night of Ben Fields' career. But just like he has in all of his contests, Ben will come to fight and leave it all in the ring.
“I know Lee is coming up from Super Featherweight for the fight, I’m a pressure fighter and I’m hoping in the later rounds my pressure will get to him and I can make it my fight."
"In the amateurs, I fought some good fighters, ABA nationalists and Commonwealth champions, and my pressure style seems to work against that boxing style, so I hope I can make it my fight in the later rounds.”