Nathan Heaney (17-0) upstaged former world title challenger Denzel Bentley (18-2-1) to claim the British middleweight title at the AO Arena in Manchester.
Heaney would start the opening round, lading over the jab Bentley perfectly to land on the chin of the former world title challenger before Heaney finished the round strong with a four-punch combination. Bentley would begin to have his own success in the second round, landing big hooks and catching Heaney coming into range, with Heaney looking to fight back at every opportunity.
The third frame would see both fighters exchange leather with each other in the centre ring in a fiery opening period before the round became subdued till the final ten seconds as Bentley capitalised on Heaney turning his back, which allowed Bentley to pin Heaney in the corner and unload.
Four was a scrappy affair fought at close quarters, with Heaney and Bentley exchanging body shots, which also saw Bnetley warned for hitting around the back of Heaney’s head.
Bentley would begin implementing his jab to much greater effect in the fifth round, allowing the Londoner to follow up with straight rights and manoeuvre challenger Heaney towards the ropes, nullifying his efforts to land in return.
An entertaining sixth, which saw both throw with each other simultaneously, was followed by Bentley pursuing Heaney further and damaging Heaney’s nose, courtesy of a right uppercut in the seventh. The result of the damage seemingly took the wind from Heaney’s sails, as his output dropped.
Bentley would pin Heaney with a one-two at the beginning of the eight and press action with short, sharp shots on the inside as Heaney was more interested in playing up to his vocal fan base and even singing along to a song from the stands during a clinch.
The action slowed in the ninth round, with both Bentley and Heaney happy to exchange jabs in an otherwise non-eventful round. Heaney would start the tenth behind his jab and right hand in ana attempt to keep Bentley from marching forward, unaffected by Heaney’s puch selection and power. Despite Heaney taking the fight to Bentley, fell victim to more short, sharp counters on the inside from Bentley.
The eleventh began with Bentley taking the lead in proceedings, implementing his jab early, which saw Bentley’s right hand follow naturally afterwards. Heaney would be troubled by a late onslaught from Bentley, who caught Heaney with three flush right hands in the centre ring.
In the twelfth frame, Heaney and Bentley would not hold back from exchanging shots in ultimately an entertaining fight.
Many at ringside believed that Denzel Bentley had done more than enough with the more telling shots and classier work however, the judges saw it otherwise, with Nathan Heaney scoring a majority decision with scores of 116-113 and 117-11 against one score of 114-114.