BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Denzel Bentley reckons all the pressure is on Mark Heffron ahead of their rematch tonight.
The Battersea puncher, 25, can win the vacant British middleweight title if he prevails at the BT Sport Studio in Stratford.
The first meeting between the pair in September ended as a unanimous draw – all three ringside judges marking it 95-95.
Now the domestic crown will be on the line as well after Welshman Liam Williams vacated the belt.
Bentley knocked Heffron down in the second round last time around and felt he did enough to earn the verdict. Instead the result halted a run of 13 straight victories for the unbeaten South Londoner.
Oldham’s Heffron had been on a four-bout winning streak since a stoppage loss to Williams at the end of 2018.
“There is no pressure on me,” said Bentley. “I know I did it the first time [won the fight] and I can do it again.
“I’m the better boxer and better fighter. There is pressure on him because he ended up getting a draw with someone who wasn’t supposed to be at his level.
“This time it will be more convincing. This is my first belt that I’m fighting for, even though I’ve been chasing one for ages.
“I’d love to win it and keep it outright [by making three successful defences] but I’ve also seen I’m ranked 14 with the WBO now. If the opportunity comes around to fight someone world-ranked I’d probably take that.
“I know I’m at that stage now where I’m mixing it with all the top guys in the division domestically. Mentally that switches me on.
“I’ve prepared myself to be in the best shape to do the 12 rounds, and to do it well – dominate for every round. If it ends up being a tough fight then I’ll be ready. I expect it to be challenging.
“I think he is going to do the same thing but maybe just start a little faster. I’ve been working on a few things, so I will be different.
“I think I won the first fight. I’ve watched it back, trying to work out what the judges were scoring. The only thing I can give [Heffron] is that he was walking forward, but he wasn’t really catching me.
“I was moving, jabbing and landing the best shots. I made him miss. I made him get anxious and rush his work.
“There’s a few things I did wrong and can work on. But I didn’t see rounds he won, apart from the ninth and maybe the sixth.”
The show is live on BT Sport.
Heffron added: “I’m still gutted about the last result but that will change in the rematch. I’m looking to get him out of there.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.