Tyler Denny: “I’ve Never Wanted To Do A ‘Normal’ Job.”
By Oliver McManus
Rowley Regis’ Tyler Denny is part of a throng of domestic middleweights looking for title shots when the sport resumes in earnest.
Having twice fought for the English belt – against Reece Cartwright and Linus Udofia, respectively – the 29 year old is determined to strike it lucky third time around.
Speaking over the phone he began by explaining his first experiences of the sport: a relatively late showing having dabbled with the Midlands’ preferred sport from an early age.
“I was always football mad until about 15, that’s all I cared about, but it was probably seeing David Haye clearing up at cruiserweight then stepping up to heavyweight that got me properly falling in love with (boxing). I was just a normal kid on a council estate trying not to get into too much trouble and that’s (why) I liked Ricky Hatton, as well.
“I’ve never wanted to do a ‘normal’ job or anything like that so once I got into boxing it was all I’d think about. You’ve got to love what you do and, of course, there are times where you sort of think ‘do I really want to do this’ (work full time and box on the small hall circuit) but hitting the pads always brought me back round and got me motivated again.”
As a former Midlands Area champion in the amateurs, and later as a professional, it was sparring Andy Robinson that set Denny’s professional ambitions flowing. A paid debut soon followed in March 2015 with a four rounder over Shaunn Watt. Having hovered around light-heavy as an amateur, Denny weighed in at 164lbs and reflects fondly on the night.
“I remember (my debut) like it was yesterday: I won the first three rounds easy but I was absolutely knackered in the last round. I was fit enough but the excitement got to me, I think, and it was a longer last round than I would have hoped for. (It) kept me on my toes and made me work even harder so (it was) good (for) the long run.
“It never feels like five years since then, if I’m honest. Time flies (and) I only really remember how long I’ve been a professional when it pops up on Facebook. I’ve had two shots at the English title in that time and I think that’s something I need to put right over the next few (fights).”
Much of the southpaw’s learning occurred in Dudley with six of his first eight fights taking place in the industrial town. The last fight in that first career stanza was an eight rounder against teak-tough Anthony Fox to set up a Midlands Area clash against Tom Stokes. A real barn-burner ensured with Denny lifting the title after a hellacious ten rounds in Walsall.
“You haven’t really got time to think about it but you know you’re enjoying more than other fights. I did really enjoy the contest because I wasn’t with BCB at the time and I said to Errol that he only gave me the fight because he thought Tom would beat me in style. It was a good fight, a really fun fight to be involved with, and of course the first title of my career.”
Less than twelve months later and Rowley Regis’ champion was up against Reece Cartweight for the vacant English champion. A spirited loss in the eighth round with the doctor halting proceedings due to a cut lip and swollen eye. One of those nights to look back on with a wry smile down the line: it was his latest title challenge, against Linus Udofia, that particularly stood out as a sore wound.
“I learned a lot when I lost to Reece Cartwright and I sort of went back to the gym and really put my head down to better myself after that. Then in my last fight (against Linus Udofia) it was an opportunity to put that into practise and I thought I won that fight. It was disheartening not to get that decision: I can’t say I got robbed because it was competitive but I think I landed the better work.
It was a crowd pleaser, it was an entertaining fight. Perhaps I sat on the ropes a little too often but I wasn’t taking damage and I was landing more eye-catching shots. It’s frustrating because I dropped him with a jab but the ref just told him to get up and if that was a 10-8 round it would have been declared a draw. That was the difference in the contest.”
The lasting frustrations stem from the predictable feeling of “if that were in Walsall, I probably would have got the nod” and such are the minutiae of boxing politics that may well be true. The rematch is firmly on Denny’s agenda but it’s materialisation is a different matter altogether. Regardless there is a real desire for Tyler Denny to crack the English title nut at the third time of asking.
“Look I’ve obviously fought for it (the English title) twice before and it’s frustrating that, in my mind, I should be champion now rather than wondering when the next opportunity will arrive. I’m sure Linus, if he doesn’t want the rematch, will be looking at bigger things and I want to make sure my name stays in contention.”