DENZEL BENTLEY MADE a successful first defence of his British middleweight title in a thrilling shootout against Marcus Morrison at York Hall.

Morrison’s trainer Joe Gallagher stepped in to raise the towel after 2minutes of round No.4 after Bentley revved himself up after a first round where Morrison looked the more dangerous customer.

Bentley did not give his challenger an inch after the opening three minutes and set about the Manchester man in a relentless assault. Morrison was showing signs of wear and tear and Gallagher rightly stepped in.

“He is a tough guy and I am happy to be the first middleweight to stop him,” said the champion. “We knew he would come out fast and we know every fighter now looks at Felix Cash as the blueprint. We’ve been in the gym preparing for everyone who comes with a fast start. It paid off today and worked.”

Two bludgeoning left hand bombs from Royston Barney-Smith saw the super featherweight starlet stop Paul Holt in just 36 seconds.

Holt, the former Midlands Area champion, was caught by a stinging shot that rocked him to his boots in the first exchanges and there was no easing up from the 18-year-old, who dispatched another left that Holt could not recover from.

Barney-Smith, a two-time European champion as an amateur, moves to 3-0 as a professional.

Ellis Zorro marked his full Queensberry debut with a thrilling victory in an epic ding-dong with Dec Spelman over eight rounds at cruiserweight.

Spelman was put to the canvas in round four, but then rallied in the fifth and Zorro was forced to ride out the storm in round six when the Scunthorpe man piled on the pressure.

Spelman looked like he was on the brink of victory in the seventh when Zorro was floundering on the ropes, but the Lewisham man dug deep and eventually managed to muster up a response.

Both men were pretty much running on empty in the final round, with Zorro showing the greater control and was awarded a 77-74 margin over victory by referee Chas Coakley.

Brick Lane welterweight Khalid Ali moved to 4-0 with a one-sided shutout against Dario Barosa, winning 60-54 on the card of referee Sean McEvoy.

There was an upset at super featherweight when the previously unbeaten Frank Arnold was knocked out in the fourth round by Brayan Mairena. The 23-year-old Arnold was poleaxed in the round before by a huge right hand, with the Nicaraguan following up with an illegal blow when he was stranded on the ropes.

Referee Chas Coakley let the fight continue and Arnold was clubbed by another mighty right in round four and no count was required, with Arnold requiring medical assistance

Cruiserweight Arnold Obodai doubled his win tally to reach 2-0 as a professional with a convincing four rounds – 40-36 – against Pawel Strykowkski.

Masood Abdulah, back at super featherweight, recorded a fifth career stoppage in the fourth round against Stefan Nicolae. The 28-year-old from Islington moved to 6-0 when Chaz Coakley stopped the fight with 1.11 on the clock.

Buckhurst Hill super bantamweight Adan Mohamed took his professional record to 7-0 with a fifth round stoppage of Reiss Taylor. Referee Sean McEvoy stepped in when the Taylor corner threw in the towel and stopped the contest after 2.34 of the round.

In the evening’s opening bout, not on BT Sport, new middleweight Joel Kodua made a successful debut over four rounds against Joe Hardy, winning every round to secure a scorecard of 40-36.

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fight night live june 9
9 June 2023 | York Hall, Bethnal Green