Frank Warren promotes for BT Sport in the UK this Saturday night, with a cracking cross-promotional main event taking place at York Hall, Bethnal Green.
A domestic unification is the prize, as Warren promoted British Middleweight champion, Denzel Bentley (14-0-1, KO12) clashes with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom handled Commonwealth champion, Felix Cash (13-0, KO9), in a superb looking headliner.
It’s refreshing to see the pair come together so early on in their careers, and it should be a good one.
Bentley has been an unexpected beneficiary of the pandemic, with his best performances coming during behind closed doors shows.
After retiring Mick Hall in July 2020, two months later, Bentley was involved in a thriller for the vacant Lonsdale Belt, where he dropped Mark Heffron in the second round, before having to settle for a draw in a contest he looked like he shaded.
A rematch was a natural, and ‘2 Sharp’ made no mistake second time around, damaging Heffron’s eye significantly enough to force the Manchester man to retire after four rounds.
The 26-year-old Londoner looks to build on that success by adding the Commonweath crown, but he faces a man just as hungry to add the British strap.
28-year-old Wokingham native Cash has come up on big Matchroom cards since turning over in 2016 after a successful amateur career, and captured the vacant rainbow belt in February 2019, stopping the hapless Rasheed Abolaji inside a round at the O2 Arena in London.
The first defence for Cash was an up and down eighth round stoppage of Jack Cullen, and last time out, he stopped the faded Jason Welborn in five at the Matchroom HQ in Brentwood.
Prediction: This is a tough one to call, with both men in form and dangerous.
Bentley though, looks like he has improved at the greatest rate of the pair, and I tentatively lean towards the Battersea man to triumph, but it could be by the tightest of split decisions.
Callum Johnson (18-1, KO13) looks to put over two years of frustration behind him, as he makes his debut under the Queensberry Promotions banner in a scheduled ten rounder at Light Heavyweight against experienced Eastern European, Emil Markic (32-2, KO24) with the vacant WBO Global title up for grabs.
Boston’s Johnson has had a stop/start career after striking Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and will look to get back to elite level as soon as possible.
‘The One’ Johnson finally broke through in March 2019, when he destroyed Frank Buglioni inside a round to add the British title to his Commonwealth belt, and the win immediately catapulted him to world level.
The 35-year-old didn’t disgrace himself in Chicago, getting off the deck in the opener before dropping Artur Beterbiev in the second. Eventually, the Russian retained his IBF world title in four rounds.
Johnson has been seen just once since, an impressive third round stoppage of Sean Monaghan in March 2019.
Bosnia-based Croatian, Markic shouldn’t pose Johnson too many worries, although he has won his last seven bouts. His last defeat came in May 2017, stopped in four in Australia by Umar Salimov.
Markic was out as recently as January, knocking out the 2-1 Zdravko Zivkovic in two rounds.
Prediction: Johnson will be looking to take out frustration against Markic, and the visitor looks a perfect opponent in which to do it.
I think after a range finding couple of rounds, Johnson will find his groove, and should halt Markic well before halfway.
Exciting prospects make up the rest of the card featuring Henry Wharton-trained, Super Welterweight, George Davey (3-0, KO0) who can take a six round points win against the tough Jamie Stewart (2-1-1, KO0), who held Florian Marku to a December 2020 draw.
At Super Lightweight, Henry Turner (4-0, KO0), should be able to control proceedings against Clayton Bricknell (3-3-1, KO0), also over six.
David Adeleye (5-0,KO5) gets a marked step up in class at Heavyweight, as the 24-year-old takes on the vastly experienced Pole, Kamil Sokolowski (10-21-2,KO4).
Adeleye has knocked over everything put in front of him so far in his fledgling career, but Sokolowski is a live underdog, and will come to win.
Now based in Barnstaple, Kamil has been sparring former WBO champion, Joseph Parker, and should give Adeleye rounds, but I expect David to come through widely on the referee’s scorecard.
Talented Slovak-born Karol Itauma (1-0, KO0) can become only the second man to stop Ryan Hibbert (1-8, KO0) in their Light Heavyweight four rounder, and Liverpool Middleweight, James Heneghan (4-0, KO0) will likely need all four rounds to defeat Dwain Grant (3-8-1, KO0)