Frank Warren is throwing back to the glory days of British boxing this week and putting on a tough gritty, British Title fight on Bt Sport this Friday night.
The fight is a rematch of one of the best fights that has taken place on British soil this year, Mark Heffron v Denzel Bentley. They fought to a close and contentious draw on the undercard of Anthony Yarde’s ring return in September, but this time the stakes are far higher.
As they rematch the coveted Lord Lonsdale belt will be on the line. Credit there must go to former champion Liam Williams, who, recognising his place is now at world level, has vacated the belt.
Although both men are convinced they did enough last time, now they have a chance to right the wrong and definitively claim the rivalry as their own.
Mark Heffron is 25-1-1, with his only loss coming at the hands of the aforementioned Williams. The 28 year old is a competent pressure fighter who found success in their last fight on the front foot.
His stamina and punch output allowed him to pressure Bentley throughout the fight, forcing the normally dominant puncher into places he didn’t necessarily want to fight. He will be looking to implant this at an even higher intensity if he wants to claim victory on Friday.
Punch absorption proved a key factor too for Heffron. Despite Bentley’s reputation as a big hitter, and the 11 men who fell at his hands, Heffron didn’t drop. He took some big clean shots and wasn’t phased. This will provide great confidence for Heffron come Friday night.
Bentley too can draw confidence from the first fight, especially his boxing ability. Although Heffron was consistent, Bentley was cleaner. He was able to land clean hard shots in burst throughout the contest, splicing Heffron defences.
At 13-0-1 with 11 knockouts the man they call ‘2 Sharp’ will also be confident of his knockout power. Although he couldn’t stop Heffron last time, he knows he can hit Heffron and he knows he has explosive power, so he will surely be looking to secure a stoppage in his first major title fight.
Training out of the famous Peacock Gym, Denzel’s conditioning too held up in his first 12 rounds, although he did switch off in spells. Mental focus and physical conditioning will be at the heart of this camp and this fight.
This is a true 50/50 and who will secure the victory will depend wholly on who has improved most in the 9 weeks since their last encounter. If Bentley can box consistently and deliver power he will claim victory. If Heffron can disturb Bentley’s output, cut off the ring and stifle him up close, he will win. It couldn’t be closer, and therefore, it couldn’t be more exciting.
The co-main event follows the throwback style of the main event, as English Super Bantamweight champion Michael Ramabeletsa will take on Southern Area champion Chris Bourke.
The 8-0 Bourke starts as a favourite coming off a significant win over Ramez Mahmood. Also a Peacock Gym fighter, Bourke is a slick boxer with a great punch. He will be looking to use this fight as a springboard towards British Champion Brad Foster.
Ramabeletsa on the other hand is one of boxing’s great characters. Growing up in apartheid South Africa he turned pro and has gone 18-17. He has taken on all comers including world champions like Paul Butler and great domestic contenders like Thomas Patrick Ward and Ryan Doyle.
Now 38 he has experienced somewhat of an Indian summer to his career, winning his last three, picking up Central Area and English Titles.
The card also features two young prospects, both of whom will want to deliver a big finish and steal the show.
One is ,of course, ‘TNT’ Tommy Fury. Love island star and brother to the best heavyweight on the planet he is probably the biggest name on the card despite only being 3-0. He will be looking to translate his heart throb physique into a highlight reel KO.
The other is Caoimhin Agyarko. The 7-0 Belfast man has done extensive sparring with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and has drawn attention from some of the game's most knowledgeable eyes. He is searching for the win that will put him in contention for a title.
Although it will not take place in front of the famous rowdy York Hall Crowds, there is plenty here for the hard core boxing fan. A trade card with even money fights and guaranteed action.
Ewan Breeze for SimBoxx