Will the fairy tale continue for perennial underdog Tyler Denny?

By Oscar Pick

MIDDLEWEIGHT underdog Tyler Denny has overcome devastating setbacks to earn home advantage for his first European title defence against Felix Cash this Saturday.

The 32-year-old is no stranger to the away corner, but having recently reignited his career, he will treat his fans to a third consecutive showdown in the Black Country.

While he returns to the Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, as the champion, Denny finds himself, nonetheless, occupying a somewhat familiar position.

Before his incredible run of form over the past two years, the West Midlands southpaw was at risk of fading into obscurity following two early defeats in English title fights.

Reece Cartwright handed him the first blemish back in 2018 when Denny was stopped in the eighth round after suffering damage to his right eye.

It was then Linus Udofia – another solid operator – who, just over a year later, edged a narrow majority decision through 10 rounds, coming away from the York Hall as the newly-crowned English champion at 160 lbs.

By this point, it was difficult to envision a world in which Denny could earn a living from the sport, let alone one in which he would challenge for and ultimately win a European title.

Unlike in any other sport, a defeat in boxing can be catastrophic to a fighter’s career.

The effects of which are instantaneous, as no promoter – nor broadcaster, for that matter – wishes to rebuild a fighter off the back of a loss.

For them, the process is time-consuming and expensive, meaning the fighter will, more often than not, be swiftly forgotten once their contract expires.

In Denny’s case, it was important to rebound from his second professional loss immediately, and he did so by outpointing Derrick Osaze before, once again, being presented with an opportunity to seize the vacant English title.

Standing in the opposite corner was River Wilson-Bent, who suffered a cut over his left eye, bringing the bout to a close halfway through the seventh round.

However, instead of awarding Denny a stoppage victory, the referee ruled that the cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads when, in fact, it was caused by a punch.


So, when it went to the judges’ scorecards, and the fight resulted in a draw, Denny was left with two options: to either go back to his former job as a plumber and give up on any sporting ambitions or to chase a rematch with Wilson-Bent and claim the belt that has always remained just beyond his reach.

Thankfully, he chose the latter and, after coming out on top in an enthralling 10-round contest, was finally able to resume his progression as a fighter.

Denny then made his mark on the domestic scene – beating Bradley Rea, Brad Pauls and Macaulay McGowan – before skipping a shot at the British title in a bid to take on the vastly experienced European champion, Matteo Signani.

The contest headlined a show in November last year at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton. Denny put on a scintillating display en route to stopping his opponent in the eighth round, shining brighter than ever in front of his hometown supporters.

In a way, despite the improvements he has made and the resolve it has taken for him to make it this far, there isn’t much that has changed for Denny.

When he faces his next opponent, he will still be the perceived underdog on an away show, albeit one that is nearer to where he lives.

Regardless of Felix Cash’s inactivity in recent years, there is every chance that he is not so far removed from the formidable puncher who dispatched Denzel Bentley in three rounds back in 2021.

Moreover, Adam Booth’s appointment as his new trainer suggests that his capacity for improvement is still very much there.

For Denny, then, Cash represents yet another difficult assignment.

But, with a habit of proving people wrong, there might just be a fairytale ending to his tremendous story after all.

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