Mark Heffron and Denzel Bentley battled their way to a unanimous draw in their ten-round British middleweight title eliminator at York Hall in East London.
Bentley scored the only knockdown, in the second round, but it was Heffron who spent most of the fight coming forward, while Bentley moved and aimed to pick him off.
Heffron’s only defeat in 26 previous fights was in a British title fight with Liam Williams in 2018, with his best win being a stoppage of Andrew Robinson, who faces Williams next month. Bentley was unbeaten but had yet to box in that class and the lack of experience could have made the difference. A rematch looks likely.
“I thought I won it, but my first time doing ten rounds, I fell asleep in the middle of the fight a little bit,” Bentley said. “I think I managed to draw it back towards the end and I thought the knockdown would push me on to win it by a round or two.
“I thought I landed the cleaner shots and moved when I needed to. “
“One hundred percent I won it,” Heffron. “The only round he won was the one where he caught me. I outworked him for every round.”
There was a good start by Heffron, but he found himself on the floor n the second round as he was caught square on by a sharp left lead from Bentley.
The fight continued in a similar vein – Heffron setting the pace and boxing on the front foot, while Bentley picking his moments to attack and always looking dangerous.
When he looked good, Bentley looked very good as he slipped Heffron’s lead and countered well. But Bentley had a tendency to switch off and back into the corners. He was made to pay for that in the ninth round, as he was nailed by a good left hook that rocked him, and was caught by another right later in the round.
Bentley finished strongly, though, winning the tenth round at a canter, boxing on the move and then catching Heffron as he tried to punch his way into range.
All three judges, Bob Williams, Steve Gray and Michael Alexander, scored it 95-95. Marcus McDonnell refereed.
Amin Jahanzeb, a 24-year-old featherweight from Bradford, extended his unbeaten record to eight with a routine six-round points win over Jamie Quinn. Jahanzeb made the pace and showed some flashy touches, but Quinn was happy to cover up in the main and concede ground.
Jahanzeb won every round by tried the patience of referee Marcus McDonnell for twice punching after the bell to end the round. McDonnell scored it 60-54 to Jahanzeb.