Denzel Bentley: “I believe fully in my ability and will take on anything thrown at me.“
By Joe Smith-Tilley
On April 24th, Denzel Bentley will once again headline a televised Queensberry promotion show. This time, 2Sharp will put his British title up against Felix Cash and his Commonwealth title. Additionally, a unique and career-defining reward is at stake – becoming the definitive number one British middleweight.
As 2020 entered its latter stages, the demand for live-action grew excessively as the supply remained limited, developing a hypersensitive viewership. After a closely fought draw between Bentley and Mark Heffron, a rematch was quickly underway at the BT sport studio in November.
Vastly different to the first contest, the Battersea man displayed character, adaption and a willingness to overcome obstacles. Delivering a destructive and decisive demolition, with Mark Heffron retiring due to a horrific eye injury:
“After the first fight, I wanted to get back into the rematch as soon as I could. I took away a few things from the first fight and had figured out his style. I knew I could adapt quickly and make these little adjustments to get the win in the second fight.
“It’s a big achievement, some don’t ever win the British title. For me, it was my first title but there is more to come and I want more. Everything about my preparations were better going into the second fight, and I think it showed on the night. I knew what to expect and got it done.
“I gained experience from the two fights and overcoming that small set back in the first. I knew I could, but it proved to me that I can change my gameplan, my style and adjust from fight to fight. It sets me up well for future fights knowing I can overcome different situations.”
After headlining two BT Sport cards, Bentley is candidly self-aware of the premature personal attention and opportunities gained from events held behind closed doors:
“I wouldn’t have been headlining a show yet if things were normal. Fortunately for me, these behind closed doors events have served me well. Frank gave me the chances and I felt he respected what I could bring to these events. With headlining these cards on TV it gets my name out there, and I need to be seen to build my profile. I can build on this now.”
Currently, in the domestic middleweight division, there is only one fight that matters; Bentley and Cash. The imminent collision of these two middleweights has curated growing anticipation and attention unmatched by many upcoming bouts:
“It’s exciting, we are the top two middleweights in the country, it was bound to happen. I want to conquer the domestic scene and I feel it has come at the right time for me. I see nothing but positives from taking this fight, we will get it on and I can then move onwards after.”
Bentley lives for the sport, inhabiting the gym. Strategic use of quick turnarounds and numerous outings per year by Bentley maintaining lofty motivation levels, enabling continuous improvement:
“I always like getting back in quickly. I’m always training and always in the gym anyway. I stay active all year round. I would be in the gym regardless, but having a fight lined up helps to not get bored and it means I am putting my energy into something, it gives me something to work towards.”
The victor will acquire escalating credentials and an exuberant profile. Naturally, additional scrutiny and pressure reside with the fighters. Bentley however radiates an authentic self-confidence, extrapolating the positive emotional benefits:
“There isn’t any extra pressure, every fight comes with pressure so it’s normal. In any fight, if you switch off you can get clipped, it’s no different in this one. There is no added pressure, just extra motivation to train hard and perform on the night.”
Bentley is adamant in making it known that his main focus is on himself. 2Sharp identifies this contest as the next opportunity in advancing his career and further developing his ability:
“Cash is a good fighter, I know that and of course, I keep an eye on him and what he brings to this fight but my main focus is on myself. I expect to get the job done. I can’t put too much focus on Cash as it’s just my next opponent. He’s one fighter, so there isn’t that much to gain from focusing just on him. I just focus on what I can improve on when preparing for this fight. It’s about getting physically and mentally right for this fight.”
In Bentley, Queensberry feel they have a fighter with great potential and a propensity for growth. Further evidence of this faith was demonstrated when Queensberry won the purse bids, bringing this event to BT Sport. Bentley extracts credence from his promotional team’s complementary behaviour:
“I appreciate the effort and trust from Frank and Queensberry. I’ve thanked him for this. It shows he believes in me. I always give my best and I want to impress myself, but also for my team and Queensberry. It gives me added motivation. I am being backed and they’re doing their job, so I know I need to do mine.”
Somewhat refreshingly, Bentley admits to having certain thoughts of what might be next. However, there is no sense these are anything but natural momentary acts of reflection. 2Sharp is consistent and gently repetitive of his current unwavering focus:
“I just want to stay injury-free. As I’ve said, I’m always ready to fight and like to be ready. I’m not fighting journeymen anymore though, these are all hard fights, so it’s one at a time, I just take fights as they come.
“Thoughts naturally run wild from time to time, but the focus is on this one. There’s no point in considering any future options if I don’t come through this, as I would have to rebuild and work hard to get it back. There are obvious step-ups after this due to having the British and Commonwealth titles. I believe fully in my ability and will take on anything thrown at me. Like every fighter, the aim is to fight for world titles, but that’s the long-term aim. One day I’ll get there and I’ll be ready for it, but that’s in the future.”