No bad blood as Bentley and Dignum go head-to-head

DANNY Dignum is contemplating retirement if he fails to defeat Denzel Bentley on Saturday evening. Those were the words of the man himself as the pair met earlier today to publicize their York Hall crossroads clash on Saturday, May 11.

The former world title challenger is putting pressure on himself to come out on top against a local rival he has sparred with multiple times over the years.

“We’re both good fighters, both sort of at a crossroads,” Dignum reflected. “The winner goes on to big things and the loser, well for me, it’s retirement because I’m not in the rebuilding process. 

“I don’t want to give up boxing, I want to carry on, so I have got to win this fight. I’ve trained so hard, but for me to rebuild or whatever, I don’t want to be doing that, so I must win this fight to carry on.”

Prior to his world title attempt in 2022, Dignum had a 14-0-1 record mostly at the domestic level. Fighting Janibek Alimkhanuly was a huge step up in class and he was defeated in two rounds. This fight, while challenging, is more winnable if his preparation matches his expectations.

“If I show up on the night, I believe I can win,” added Dignum (16-1-1, 9 KOs). “It’s easy for me to say it, I have to do it.”

Danny Dignum celebrates a previous win at the York Hall (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Rejecting the idea of a bounce-back or comeback fight, opponent Denzel Bentley is solely focused on the fact that he’s in a 50-50 contest. Promoter Frank Warren has labeled this as a crucial matchup for Bentley following his loss to Nathan Heaney in his last fight, where he lost his British title.

“Every fight is a must-win fight. This isn’t a confidence booster or a feel-good fight, this is a real fight and after I defeat Danny, I’ll feel good,” said Bentley.

Admitting that his former sparring partner was a solid amateur and skilled professional, Bentley doesn’t read too much into Dignum’s performance against common opponent Alimkhanuly, calling it a slip-up. He performed better when he faced Janibek, going the distance over 12 rounds – “2 Sharp” doesn’t buy into Danny’s retirement talk either.

“That’s his issue. I’m not buying into that talk,” said Bentley. “If he wants to retire, then good luck to him. He might not believe in himself anymore, and this sport is too risky to have doubts. You can’t be halfway in, halfway out.”

The 18-3-1 (15 KOs) fighter from Battersea discussed what has changed now compared to the turmoil of the Heaney build-up.

“A clear mindset,” smiled Bentley, who hopes to maintain that clarity at the York Hall on Saturday evening.

On the undercard, Ryan Garner meets former British super-featherweight champion Liam Dillon in a 10-round WBC International title clash.

“I had two good back-to-back wins and then I was supposed to fight [Anthony] Cacace. He pulled out with an injury, then I got injured, so let’s get back on track,” said a determined Garner.

A potential fight with Archie Sharp, who was seated next to Garner, has been discussed. There’s no animosity between them and it’s news to the 14-0 Southampton fighter, but if it makes sense, he’s interested.

“That’s news to me,” said “The Piranha”. 

“Things are talked about behind closed doors, but I have a good relationship with Archie. It’s business at the end of the day; it’s boxing. Our main goal is to provide for our families.”

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