Denzel Bentley will be looking to take the next step in his career and establish himself as a champion when he defends his British middleweight title against Marcus Morrison live on BT Sport tonight. For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
Bentley turned professional to little fanfare but has been happy to fight his way into position. The way he has moved through the ranks and become a regular headline attraction shows the benefit of doing things the old fashioned way.
“Nothing’s been easy for him, nothing’s been handed to him. With good management – and I like to think we’ve done our part too – he’s got there the hard way. I think he’s very appreciative of what he’s got too,” show promoter, Frank Warren, told 32Red.
“Nothing’s been handed to Denzel”
Lots of fighters enter the sport full of fire and ambition. But plenty begin to prioritise paydays and seek the path of least resistance before they have truly earned their stripes. As the well worn boxing cliche goes, they want to be flamboyant ‘Money’ Mayweather without being the ruthlessly determined ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’.
Bentley has always backed his own ability and knew that by taking tough fights early in his career he would eventually get where he wanted. Now, he could be just a couple of wins away from a world title fight. Warren appreciates Bentley’s attitude and willingness to put in the hard yards.
“You get some people who get involved in boxing who know nothing. It’s very rare things like that happen in other sports but in boxing it happens quite a bit,” Warren said. “The usual thing is somebody telling them they deserve more money. And don’t get me wrong, everybody wants more money. But it’s a business and at the end of the day the numbers have to stack up.
“They’re given lots of promises and invariably they never delivered. The boxers want to believe it though. What usually happens is that they come back eventually and say they wish they’d never done this or listened to that. But it’s too late. the relationship has been ruined.”
Bentley now stands as a two time British middleweight champion and headlines again this weekend when he defends his title against Morrison. Topping bills is an important step in a fighter’s progression to the top. It adds a different level of pressure and a weight of expectation. The good fighters flourish under the spotlight.
“One thing about Denzel, he’s never in a boring fight”
“I love being at the top of the bill,” Bentley said. “It feels like everybody has come out to see you. It’s nice fighting on these big cards in the arenas but unless you’re headlining, even if you’re in a good fight, sometimes it can get lost on those shows.”
Warren is expecting a good fight this weekend. Morrison has shown vulnerability in the past but at his best he is an explosive, determined fighter. Bentley has knockout power and showed in May’s thrilling title winning effort against Linus Udofia that he is more than willing to take one to give one. If Bentley comes through this weekend’s test there will be some big nights in 2023 and Warren has already started to formulate plans.
“He’s done it before and he’s there again now. There are some big fights available for him next year,” Warren said. “Denzel and Hamzah Sheeraz is a big fight if we build that up. This is a big opportunity for him. He’s got a good platform here. He’s headlining at York Hall and it’s live on BT Sport and one thing about Denzel, he’s never in a boring fight. He always gives a good account of himself. Morrison always keeps going till the end too so it’ll be a decent fight.
“At the moment Denzel’s the British champion so we’ve got something to build on. But I look at that and think next May or June we can go to the Copper Box and fill it up. It’s the battle of the East End isn’t it. And it will be a good fight. I already know that.”