MIDDLEWEIGHT CRACKER BOOKED FOR MAY 11
04.04.24

MIDDLEWEIGHT CRACKER BOOKED FOR MAY 11

DENZEL BENTLEY AND Danny Dignum will go into battle at York Hall on May 11 with the WBO International middleweight title on the line.

The Battersea Boy will take on the Basildon Boy in what is near certain to be a thrilling scrap in Bethnal Green, with the winner propelled right back in the rankings.

The two-time British champion Bentley (18-3-1, 15 KOs), 29, was on the wrong end of a majority decision up in Manchester in November of last year when he defended his Lonsdale belt against Nathan Heaney, having a year earlier extended the WBO world champion Janibek Alimkhanuly to a tough 12 rounds in Las Vegas.

Former WBO European champion Dignum, 32, has been contending with inactivity in recent times, with his last fights coming in March and April of 2023 with victories over Dustin Amman and Lukasz Maciec respectively.

Previously, Dignum (16-1-1, 9 KOs), was also defeated by Alimkhanuly in a challenge for the WBO Interim world title in May 2022.

Also confirmed for the card on May 11 is the return of the Piranha, Ryan Garner (14-0, 8 KOs), in a defence of his WBC International super featherweight title against former British champion Liam Dillon (13-1-1, 3 KOs), in what will be the toughest examination to date for the Southampton 25-year-old.

British and Commonwealth featherweight champion Nathaniel Collins (14-0, 7 KOs) is back in title action with a challenge for the EBU Silver Championship against the champion Francesco Grandelli (18-2-2, 4 KOs) from Italy.

“I think Danny is a good fighter, nice and sharp,” commented Bentley on his forthcoming foe. “He had a good amateur career and he’s had a decent pro career.

’This is what I am about. I just want to be in fights that people want to see me in. A lot of fighters, maybe because they’ve got a bigger profile than me, just want to swerve the good fights and make money from mediocre fights. That is okay, but it is my job to fight and fights that people are excited about, I am excited about.

“I am a boxing fan so when I see a good fight getting made I am excited. I think about what fights will get fans excited and this is one of them.

“The belt will put the winner straight back in there. I told them I didn’t want no comeback fights – six or eight rounders – I just want to get straight back in there. I’d rather not box than do an eight rounder.

“I am starting again in terms of rankings and stuff, but I am continuing with good fights.”

Dignum, who trains out of the iBox Gym in Bromley under the stewardship of Alan Smith, admits he was beginning to despair over his lack of options, but continued striving and now gets his reward in the shape of a big title fight.

“I can’t wait for it,” he said. “I know Denzel very well and I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his team, but this is a real good fight and a genuine 50-50, I think. This is what people want to see and I’ve not really boxed before in a big domestic fight.

“This will be my first one and I rate Denzel highly and think he is a very good fighter, but I am so up for this and I’ve got a buzz about me in the gym again now.

“I have been training for a year with no fight so I can’t wait for this. I was thinking about retiring and was on the verge of it. I asked Al what I should do and, as luck would have it, I was training for the marathon and he said I was staying fit and if something came up in the meantime we would go for it.

“Now this fight has come up and they have given me eight weeks’ notice. You never know what is around the corner in this game.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “This is a proper middleweight dust-up between two fighters with it all to prove. Both have fought at the highest level and both of them are trying to force their way back into the picture.

“Winning the WBO International championship will do just that. I am sure this will be a popular match-up with the fans and it has got all the makings of a York Hall classic.

“I am also looking forward to getting our Piranha back on the prowl again with Ryan Garner defending his WBC title in an excellent fight against Liam Dillon to kickstart what we plan to be a very big year for him. Plus we have Nathaniel Collins bidding to win a third title in the EBU Silver belt in what will be another step forward for him.”

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