The vacant British middleweight title is on the line this Friday between former champion Denzel Bentley, and Linus Udofia, an unbeaten former English champion in the headline event of a Wasserman Boxing show this Friday from the Indigo at The O2.
Udofia vs Bentley will be broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK.
Udofia (17-0, 9 KOs) has impressed in his fledgling career to date, becoming English champion in November 2019 with a majority nod over Tyler Denny, and then stopping John Harding Jr in nine almost a year later.
The Luton native was last in action last October, with a stoppage win against Xhuljo Vrenozi in three.
Bentley (15-1-1, 13 KOs) is a heavy-handed type, and he made the most of the behind closed doors settings due to the pandemic, coming to the fore during 2020.
First, the Battersea man stopped Mick Hall, and was unlucky to only secure a draw against Mark Heffron at the back end of the year. In a rematch, ‘2 Sharp’ made no mistake, and with the vacant British belt on the line, he forced Heffron to retire after four rounds.
The first defence was against Felix Cash, with Cash’s Commonwealth title also at stake, in April 2021, but the 27-year-old was no match for his opponent, suffering a first defeat by third round stoppage.
He returned in November, seeing off Sam Evans in three.
Prediction: This is a cracking looking clash, with both having a strong case for winning. It could well be a tear up, and Bentley has a high knockout ratio, which could work to his advantage. I lean to the more experienced Bentley to take the win via late stoppage or tight points verdict.
Sunderland’s Josh Kelly makes his long-awaited comeback, 15 months after suffering his first professional defeat, and the welterweight returns in a ten rounder against the aforementioned Vrenozi (18-4, 3 KOs).
Kelly (10-1-1, 6 KOs) had a stellar amateur career, but was matched tough quickly, drawing with Ray Robinson early on in his pro career and two fights later, he took on a real acid test, and it was a bridge too far in a European title tilt against David Avanesyan, eventually stopped in six rounds.
The 28-year-old should have a gentle return against the Albanian, who has been halted three times in his four defeats.
Prediction: Kelly can clinch victory before halfway.
Eubank battles Dodd
An interesting clash comes at super lightweight, where former Commonwealth lightweight champion, Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd meets the unbeaten Harlem Eubank over ten rounds.
Eubank(13-0, 5 KOs) has made good progress so far as a pro, and the Brighton man is in impressive recent form, beginning with an eighth round knockout of Martin McDonagh in September 2020.
He was last out in February, forcing Viorel Simion to retire after five rounds.
Dodd (17-6-1, 3 KOs) has had a frustrating few years of inactivity, and was seen last in a BOXXER tournament in November 2021, losing a split decision in his quarter final against Cori Gibbs.
Prediction: Eubank should take this one late on.
There is a British title eliminator at middleweight, and Brad Pauls can score a win over Birmingham’s Ryan Kelly in their scheduled ten rounder.
‘Newquay Bomb’ Pauls (15-0, 9 KOs) gets some much needed exposure here, but may need the distance to see off Kelly (16-3, 8 KOs), who has only been halted by Hamzah Sheeraz, and has taken Michael McKinson ten rounds.
Former world title challenger Katharina Thanderz (13-1, 2 KOs) returns after a stoppage defeat to Terri Harper in her last fight, and the Norwegian can make a successful comeback with a points win at super featherweight against Tereza Dvorakova (4-6, 1 KO).