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Blocking out the noise: Denzel Bentley gets horny over Danny Dignum's 'threat' | Boxing News


DENZEL BENTLEY admits he may find it difficult to find motivation for a fight he is expected to win.

Distractions, or as he describes it, “external noise,” can get into his head and take his attention away from the task at hand. Bentley was widely expected to defend his British middleweight title against Nathan Heaney in November, ending Heaney's underdog history.

In the main event at the Manchester Arena, after the likes of Nick Ball, Liam Davies, Harry Scarfe, Nathaniel Collins and Solomon Dacres were doing well in the ring, Heaney caused the biggest shock of the night and year. The underdog snapped at Bentley and eventually won a well-deserved decision and captured Lonsdale's belt.

Bentley, 18-3-1 (15 KOs), did not want to make excuses when talking with Boxing News weeks after the loss, but believed that his wife's pregnancy and the premature birth of his first child did affect his preparation.

At that time he said: “I didn’t want to say this tonight because it might seem like I was making excuses. I wanted Heaney to enjoy his victory. These are not excuses, but this is exactly what happened, and I decided to get into the ring. I'll have to deal with the result.”

Four months later, Bentley faces Essex middleweight Danny Dignum, 16-1-1 (9 KOs), on Saturday night (May 11) at York Hall. Two years ago, the two met “Qazaq Style” Zhanibek Alimkhanuly six months apart in Las Vegas. In May 2022, Dignum lost two rounds, but Bentley lasted the distance and proved his worth as a world title contender at the time.

“If I go into my next fight and don’t win it, what excuse will I have,” Bentley laughed.

The 29-year-old initially spoke to BN about his experience last week with Steel Warriors, an anti-knife crime charity, but kindly spent more time talking about the fight with Dignum, which will headline Saturday fight night on TNT Sports.

“I have to be on top,” he said.

“If I don’t perform next time, I shouldn’t be in the ring. But this time I feel good. Danny Dignum is a good fighter. In my opinion, a better fighter than Nathan (Heaney). I'm really excited to make a statement and get back to where I was because before this (loss) I was in a good position and I let Nathan take that away from me. This bothered me a little. I know this feeling and I don't want it again. I need to play well, get back to where I was and move forward.”

Bentley vs. Dignum – main event at York Hall (Stephen Dunkley/Queensberry)

“He's a good boxer, very technical,” Bentley said of Dignum.

“He's a southpaw, he has good straight shots, good shot selection and he's only lost once. He's a good fighter. I tell people this is not a comeback fight. This is the fight I could take after Heaney if I couldn't fight for the world title. This is real competition.

“I know we haven’t seen Dignum in a while and he hasn’t been active, but I know he stays in the gym because I know where he trains. And I know they stay pretty active at this gym. I don't expect it to rust. I expect a good version from him. I’m really excited for this fight, I’m actually really excited, I can’t even express how excited I am.”

Like many boxing fans, Bentley is experiencing a period in the sport that is producing some of the best fights. Undefeated records aren't being wrapped in protective materials because more and more fighters are willing to accept defeat knowing it's not the end of their careers. Financial injections from Saudi Arabia have probably made it easier to accept the risk factor, but let's not forget that boxing is also about competing for prizes.

“We’re at that point,” Bentley said.

“Good fighters have good fights and lose, so the undefeated go out the window. They understand that if you take the right fights, you get paid the right money. We are in a good phase in boxing because we are seeing good fights now.

“The thing about boxing is that if you have a good fight and a good performance, people will want to see you again no matter what. This is a sport, this is a competition. You are allowed to lose the competition and that is the only way you can come back.

“I’m someone who loves competition,” he added. “If I fight someone who is not on my level, it’s difficult for me to resist. Sometimes I can block out external noise if the task at hand is more important than what is happening. When you're fighting someone who you think isn't as good as you or isn't on your level, sometimes outside noise can creep in and you're not paying attention. I know you're supposed to be professional, but that's human nature.

“Right now, Danny Dignum is a threat and could take something away from me. And all the external noise that happens is easy for me to block because I have energy. There's a threat in front of me and I need to focus.”


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