“The Royal Albert Hall is my favourite venue right now. The building is amazing and it’s lovely to box there… Also I have a 100% KO ratio there so that’s good too.”
I’ve attended shows up and down Britain and, despite my 0 for 0 KO rate, the Royal Albert Hall is the best venue for boxing I’ve ever been to. By a mile. Not a bad seat in the house, sixteen bars and if you can be bothered to walk up some stairs, easy toilet access. Anyone who has been to the o2 will know that awful, smokey, cokey, queue for the loo.
While the facilities are important (and criminally overlooked by promoters in my opinion), atmosphere is king. The Royal Albert Hall’s atmosphere is second to none. I know that Albert Hall’s acoustics are by design (after some bulbous adjustments) for music and choral work, but a raucous crowd is much the same principle.
For example. Usually an opening fight at a big venue has a few cheers from a seeming mile away. A clap at the back. Mohammad Bilal Ali had vociferous, if rude and and obstinate, support as he halted the usually durable Aleksandrs Birkenbergs in the third of a four rounder. The noise sounded like the main event, incredible. I washed in rapture and suddenly the boxing was secondary.
Ali did well, capitalising on his foe’s cockiness and showing a mean streak which will serve him well.
With all my giddyness at the venue, the show was fast being ripped from the reason I had come. That being Denzel Bentley. Denzel is a man who has stolen the show since his debut, a skilled bruiser no matter how much he tells you otherwise. Demure and devout, Denzel is a devil in the ring. On Friday he faced his first foe with a winning record. Kelcie Ball had even fought for a title before facing Bentley. On paper this was a real test.
Denzel shreds paper.
Walking in, the ten wins to one loss Ball was buoyant but blitzed out in astoundingly quick fashion. Rushing at one another, Ball tried to hold his ground but had his bravery beaten from him quickly, saved by referee Kieran McCann in the first round. Denzel’s sixth first round victory from eleven fights- all wins. Such an early end wasn’t the plan, though,
“That wasn’t the plan it just happened… I read an article on the morning of the fight where he said he was going to “burst my bubble” and it kind of annoyed me. I thought he was hurt from the beginning that’s why he kept holding but I knew he was done when I hit him with the uppercut.
This win hopefully puts me right in the mix and now hopefully people will notice me more and I can get some good title fights.”
Good luck Denzel. Every boxer watching that thought one thing, wait till the money is right. Denzel will have to, and will most likely, batter and belittle boxers on his way to a title nobody wants to fight him for. An educated application of pressure that is echoed in his ring approach.
“The minute you start to rely on your power that’s when things don’t go the way you want it to so it’s best to just keep to your boxing.”
Admitting to having “got a lot better” and “improving” Bentley says he is now ”at English/ British level.” Denzel has spoken to Southpaw Jab before and said then that he want titles, not people. The big problem he’ll face, off the back of performances like this, is that the people en route to the straps won’t want a piece of him. Titles and people are intertwined.
That sounds rather down, but it isn’t meant to be. Denzel Bentley is lucky to be in a British middleweight division stacked with talent and with Frank Warren behind him bigger fights will have the way paved with more ease than a small hall fighter may have. Title fights beckon, and few will admit to being afraid of fighting Bentley. Will admit.
The Queensbury Promotions show was an exciting and entertaining one, I took some friends to their first live event and all of them wanted more following it. Nicola Adams received a very kind draw defending her WBO World Flyweight Title, challenger Maria Salinas left the ring cheered by the crowd, but without the belt. Adams looked out of sorts, perhaps the early clash of heads banged the class from her. I felt for Salinas, who should now hold that strap.
Archie Sharp’s spiteful left hand ended Declan Geraghty’s night. It was an entertaining shootout which Sharp always seemed to control meant he went home with the WBO European Super Featherweight Title.
The main event saw Daniel Dubois continue his much publicised push to win “all the belts”. While a lovely sentiment, and promotional boner, even a casual fan knows this is pure hyperbole (see WBO European). However, at twenty two Dubois has every door, window and conservatory that next door left unlocked, open to him. Battering the completely mismatched, though wonderfully named, Ebenezer Tetteh* out of their contest for the then vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight Title and also the WBO International (zzzzz) promotional tool.
Frankly, nobody but promoters and the WBO gives a toss about their spurious straps, and that applies to all the alphabet bodies. However, Dubois is a force of nature, where, when and how he will capture all of those belts will be exciting to watch, especially if it is at Royal Albert Hall.
*I guarantee another outlet will use the Scrooge/ miserly thing. Not here though. Southpaw Jab are classy. Ahem.