Denzel Bentley made a successful first defense of his second reign as British middleweight champion as he stopped Marcus Morrison in four wild rounds at the York Hall in London.
It was all-out attack from both boxers while it lasted, but Bentley, who was rocked in the first round, had the faster hands and better variety as he battered Morrison into something of a bloody mess.
Bentley’s first reign as British champion ended when he was stopped by Felix Cash in his first defence, but the 27-year-old from South London is a boxer on the rise as he raised his record to 17-1, 14 of his wins coming by stoppage.
“He caught me round the back of the head [in the first] a little bit and I thought ‘oh, oh, my legs have gone’, but I regrouped and I let my shots go,” Bentley said. “When they were landing I knew they were hurting, I felt them on the knuckle.
“He does have power, so my corner were telling me to keep my hands up. He had a good left hook and a good backhand so I had to be careful.
“I’m an animal. We knew he was going to come fast. We know every fighter we are going to get in there will look at Felix Cash as the blueprint. I’ve grown a lot. Before the Cash loss I felt like I was doing everything I could, after I lost, I realised I could do more. Because I know I can do more, I am going to try to do even more than that.
“I want to push on. Every boxer’s aspiration is to be a world champion, I know I can’t do that by doing the bare minimum.
“[Stopping him] means I hit harder than Chris Eubank (who went ten rounds with Morrison last year) and that would be a great fight down the line.”
First success in a fast start went to Morrison, as he landed a right to the side of Bentley’s head that seemed to rock Bentley enough that he put out a hand to steady himself on the ropes. Morrison then piled in, but Bentley gained some space and scored with a jab and a straight right. Morrison then missed with a big right, but Bentley landed with a shorter right of his own.
Morrison then tried another right but was countered by a left hook that seemed to rock him, prompting Bentley to open up with a furious two-fisted barrage. But Morrison covered up and then caught Bentley with a good right hand that stopped him in his tracks.
Bentley started the second round in all-out attack mode and while Morrison, now bleeding from the nose, tried to match him, he was soon battered backwards. Morrison fired back again, but when Bentley landed a solid right, Morrison looked hurt. Still, he rode out the attack and it was Morrison landing better at the end of the round.
The third round was a much calmer affair as both stood off, but in the last seconds of the round, Bentley landed a big right, followed it up with a body shot – which Morrison indicated was low – before pounding Morrison back to the ropes.
Bentley started fast again in the fourth round and when Morrison missed with a big left hook, he was punished by being battered back into the ropes by a series of short hooks. Morrison desperately tried to hold, but Bentley would not let him, landing to body and head.
He managed to get off the ropes, but a left to the body hurt Morrison again and had him going backwards, as there was no let-up from Bentley. He was covering up as Morrison’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, climbed into the ring, forcing referee Kevin Parker to wave it off at 2:00.
Morrison looked unhappy but his face was a mask of blood, from a cut above the right eye as well as a damaged nose, and he was taking a beating.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.