BoxingSport

Battersea’s Denzel Bentley confident he can Cash in his way to top of the middleweight division

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Denzel Bentley is confident his lack of an extensive amateur boxing background will prove no obstacle in reaching the very top of the sport.

The 26-year-old middleweight faces Felix Cash tomorrow night with two major belts on the line.
Battersea’s Bentley makes a first defence of his British belt and will also look to add the Commonwealth strap to his collection, currently in the possession of Felix Cash.

The pair are both unbeaten heading into a quality match-up at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.

Cash is Bentley’s mandatory challenger. The Wokingham fighter was on the GB squad and was a five-time national champion in the unpaid ranks before signing with Matchroom Boxing.

Bentley’s promoter Frank Warren won the purse bid for the bout ,which is the headliner on a BT Sport-telvised show this weekend.

The South Londoner used to box for Fisher ABC but did not have his first ring outing until the age of 19. He once reached the novice ABA quarter-finals.

Bentley, who has won by stoppage in 12 of his 14 victories, knows a win over Cash will boost his reputation after doing an impressive job on Mark Heffron to claim the domestic crown in November.

“I want to get right to the top,” he said. “If that’s not my aim then really I would be doing this for no reason. I know I haven’t got the best amateur experience or boxed at the top level, but I have trained with some top-level professionals and amateurs and soaked up knowledge.

“He [Cash] is definitely the most high-profile fight of my career. He is known by a lot of people in the boxing industry. We are both undefeated and that makes it even more interesting.

Championship Boxing ‘The Fight Before Christmas’ Denzel Bentley vs Adam Grabiec – International Middleweight Contest, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Copper Box Arena, 21 December 2019

“I’m coming off a good win and I’m excited about it. I can’t wait.

“He had a good amateur career and has taken that into the pros. I can’t say anything bad about him.

“My prediction is that I win. Everyone loves a stoppage and if I see the opportunity to do that then I’m definitely going to take it. I think I can stop him but I’m not going to force anything because I’m also capable of comfortably doing the 12 rounds.”

Bentley used to juggle his boxing with working at the Fulham branch of Sainsbury’s until 2018.

He was 15 when his older brother Hayden, now 28, bought a pair of gloves at Nine Elms Sunday Market.

“We used to just scrap,” said Bentley. “In the amateurs I was losing the hunger to box. There you are just doing it for fun. I had my job and that was physically demanding.

“It got to the stage where I wasn’t feeling it no more. I wanted to go into the ABAs and my coach didn’t want me to do it, he wanted me to do the U20s for another year.

“So it was either that I turned over and gave it a go, or I stopped boxing. I went professional and got that spark back again.

“I had a good 2020 and I want to have a good 2021. I don’t want to be still boxing at the same level and be in the same place. I want each fight to take me to another level – profile-wise and ability-wise.”

This will be Bentley’s fourth bout without any fans in attendance.

“At first it was a bit weird but I’m used to it now,” he said. “I know some people have said it can feel like sparring but I’ve never seen it like that. I know if I go in with a lazy mindset and don’t come out with the win then it messes up your career.”

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