Nathan Heaney Outboxes Denzel Bentley to British Title Win
Nathan Heaney (18-0, 6 KOs) became the latest man to win the British middleweight title with a majority decision over Denzel Bentley (18-2-1, 15 KOs). Scores were 117-111, 116-113 and 114-114. The fight headlined a night of title fights at the AO Arena in Manchester, England, and was broadcast by TNT Sports in the UK and ESPN+ in the USA.
Nathan Heaney Defeats Denzel Bentley
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In the opening round, Heaney stayed an arm’s length away and attempted to land shots from a distance. Bentley pushed forward and kept the Stoke-on-Trent fighter along the ropes. This continued into the later rounds. Heaney was having a lot more success as he was able to land from range and prevent the London fighter from getting on the inside. Whenever Bentley was able to get inside, he landed clean on his opponent. These moments only happened occasionally, however.
Just before the start of round six, Heaney’s corner warned him to remain “switched on” as they believed “2Sharp” would start to get more desperate from that point on. Heaney continued boxing from a distance and even began showboating. In the middle and late rounds, there were also times where Bentley was the one along the ropes and looking to counter his opponent.
On a couple of occasions in the final two rounds, both men chose to stand and trade. In the end, it was Heaney’s boxing on the outside that made him the British middleweight champion.
“He had an opportunity and he took it, but I don’t know. Judges saw it how they saw it,” Bentley said. “I don’t think he really landed anything compared to what I landed on him. A lot of the shots he threw I was catching on the gloves, but that’s how the judges scored it.”
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Heaney. “People always say ‘I always dreamt of becoming a world champion, I always dreamt of being a British champion.’ I’ve got to be honest: I never thought I could.”
Nick Ball Wins Title Eliminator
Just prior to the main event, Nick Ball (19-0, 11 KOs) dropped and outpunched Isaac Dogboe (24-4, 15 KOs) en route to a unanimous decision win. Scores were 119-108, 118-109 and 116-111. With the win, Ball is now in line to challenge for the WBC featherweight title currently held by Rey Vargas.
The fight began with the Liverpudlian throwing significantly more punches than Dogboe. It was not all one-way traffic, however, as hooks from the former super bantamweight champion briefly shook Ball at the end of round two. For the most part in the early rounds, Ball would throw a variety of punches to the head and body of his opponent. While some got through, many were blocked by Dogboe who covered up.
In round four, Dogboe went to the canvas and it was ruled as a knock down. However, it appeared to be more of a push rather than a knockdown. For large portions of the clash, it was Ball applying pressure and landing the cleaner punches. The Accra-born fighter landed eye-catching shots from time to time, but it was not enough to win entire rounds. In the end, the pressure and activity of Ball gave him the win on the scorecards.
Ema Kozin Becomes Unified World Champion
Ema Kozin (24-1-1, 12 KOs) became the unified super welterweight champion with a split decision win over Hannah Rankin (13-7, 3 KOs). While one judge had Rankin winning 96-94, the other two had the fight 98-92 and 96-94 for Kozin. With the win, she (who some may remember for her clash against Claressa Shields) now holds the WBC and WBO titles. The fight opened the live telecast on TNT Sports in the UK and ESPN+ in the USA.
Both fighters tied up with each other a number of times during the course of the bout. Kozin would attempt to work her way inside with the jab. However, Rankin would tie up whenever her opponent got inside. The Scottish fighters bobbing and weaving made her hard to hit. During round seven, both women landed clean on each other by timing their shots. This caused Kozin to focus more on boxing on the outside.
During the championship rounds, the Slovenian southpaw began pressing a lot more. On the other hand, Rankin moved around the ring, making Kozin miss on a number of occasions. However, a lack of offensive output and clinching from the Scottish fighter may have swung the scores in Kozin’s favour. The southpaw from Slovenia has now won three fights in a row since her loss to Shields.
Denzel Bentley vs. Nathan Heaney Undercard Results
Just before Nick Ball-Isaac Dogboe, Liam Davies (15-0, 7 KOs) retained his European super bantamweight title with a fifth round stoppage win over Vincenzo La Femina (13-1, 7 KOs). Both men went to the canvas in the third. La Femina went down again in the fourth. A barrage of punches from Davies cause referee Fabian Guggenheim to eventually wave off the bout in round five.
Solomon Dacres (8-0, 2 KOs) remained English heavyweight champion with a majority decision against Michael Webster (9-1, 6 KOs). Scores were 96-93, 96-94 and 95-95. Dacres lost a point in round ten for excessive use of the forearm.
In a 12-round welterweight fight for the British and Commonwealth titles, Harry Scarff (13-2, 3 KOs) won via unanimous decision against Ekow Essuman (19-1, 7 KOs). Scores were 117-112, 116-113 and 115-112.
Just prior to the live broadcast, Nathaniel Collins (14-0, 7 KOs) retained his British and Commonwealth titles against Zak Miller (13-1, 3 KOs) via majority decision. Scores for this 12-round featherweight clash were 115-113 (x2) and 114-114.
Amaar Akbar (6-0, 1 KO) won a points decision against Christian Flores (14-33-2, 12 KOs) in a six-round welterweight bout. The referee’s scorecard read 60-54.
Callum Thompson (8-0, 1 KO) won a points decision against Joshua Ocampo (8-20-5, 6 KOs) in a six-round lightweight fight. The referee’s scorecard read 60-54.