By Frank Warren
I THINK EVERYBODY will agree when I say that Denzel Bentley did himself proud in his bid to become a world champion on Saturday night over in Las Vegas.
Janibek Alimkhanuly has built up a fearsome reputation for speedy knockouts and the overriding narrative was that nobody wants to fight him. Well, Denzel did and now I suspect others will follow.
Let’s face it, Janibek was being built up as some sort of monster and few gave Denzel an earthly of getting past a few rounds. As I said in my preview beforehand, my own feeling was that if Denzel could put it on him from the start then we would find out if Janibek was all he is cracked up to be.
As well as he did – and he has got nothing to reproach himself for – I think when Denzel watches it back he might suffer a few pangs of regret over not attempting to force Janibek onto the back foot sooner than he did.
You are always going to be up against it if you let the first five or six rounds slip by against a good champion, who is unlikely to lose the whole second half of a fight.
When Denzel let his shots go and matched Janibek for purpose and aggression he was right in it and the Kazakh didn’t appear quite so formidable. I think in the second half of the fight Denzel showed that he could have the beating of this fella and he certainly proved that he belongs at the level.
I’ve no doubt that Denzel will come again and we will get him back in the world title mix before too long.
ALSO OVER THE weekend, as Queensberry fighters performed across three continents, two new champions were added to our roll call. Over in Dubai, Henry Turner became WBC International Silver champion at super lightweight with a stunning knockout victory over Jorge Abel Bermudez and Louie Lynn won the WBC International featherweight title with a unanimous points win over Asad Asif Khan. Congratulations to both and also to Raven Chapman, who took her record to 5-0 with an impressive performance on the same card.
THERE WAS SOME explosive action at York Hall on Friday when Nick Ball reminded everyone why he is considered probably the most exciting young fighter in the country right now.
Nick demolished the capable Mexican Jesus Ramirez Rubio in less than two minutes to retain his WBC Silver featherweight title and demonstrated why he will quickly be in the running for a world title shot.
It seems to be a characteristic of the Everton Red Triangle Gym in that Nick is calm, cold and utterly ruthless in the way he goes about his work. It goes without saying that he has got a huge future in front of him and it will be fun to watch.
Heavyweight David Adeleye got himself back in the groove after injury with an impressive win and Willy Hutchinson looks to be a rejuvenated force at light heavy on what was a successful night for our younger element.
I’D LIKE TO send my best wishes to Callum Johnson following his announcement that he is to retire from the sport. He bows out with an impressive record, a number of title successes and he will be remembered as an exciting fighter who was always entertaining to watch.
Sadly he will also be remembered for his misfortune, particularly when Covid-19 denied him his shot at Joe Smith jr for the WBO world title in January. I know it was a devastating setback for Callum and it was a greater shame because I firmly believe he would have defeated Smith and become champion.
It is in the past now and I wish Callum health and happiness for the next stage of his life beyond boxing.
WE ARE OFF to Telford on Saturday for a cracking show headed up by local lad Liam Davies fighting for the vacant European super bantamweight title and the WBC International belt held by his opponent Ionut Baluta.
We also have the return of Anthony Yarde to the ring ahead of his multi-world title challenge against Artur Beterbiev that is set for the end of January. Anthony needs to get the job done against the Bulgarian Stefani Koykov and avoid any mishaps. It isn’t ideal, but with the Beterbiev fight having been put back from October, Anthony needs some ring time to be in optimum condition for his big night.
Another fight to keep an eye out for on Saturday is the clash between Eithan James and Connor Parker for the WBO European super lightweight title and the Midlands Area title scrap between Jamie Stewart and Owen Cooper will be well worth a watch too.