Denzel Bentley forced Mark Heffron to retire on his stool before the fifth round with a severely damaged eye, as he claimed the vacant British Middleweight title at the BT Studios in London.
Their original meeting in September was a three-way draw that was scored identically, so another close fight was expected here.
The pair were cautious in the early going, with Heffron keen to establish his jab, and he did land an overhand right that caught the eye with Bentley’s best work coming towards the end of the round.
The 25-year-old grew in confidence, and got through with multiple shots in the second, following a right hand that buzzed Heffron, whose left eye was severely swollen as a result of the volume of punches getting through.
The Oldham man was struggling to see where the punches were coming from with his eye half closed, and Bentley (14-0-1, 12 KOs) continued to land time after time, with his right hand to inflict further damage to his rival.
Every time Heffron (25-2-1, 19 KOs) would look to attack, the Londoner would counter to better effect, and a one-two in the fourth stunned Heffron again, right on the stricken eye.
The 28-year-old to his credit did try to get on the front foot in an attempt to get a foothold, but the damage to his eye had worsened still, and was nearly fully closed, as his corner wisely decided to withdraw their man from battle ahead of the fifth round.
“It feels great. It’s my first title, and I’m following in the footsteps of some great Fisher (ABC) boys in Terry Downes, Lloyd Honeyghan and Ted Cheeseman as British champions,” Bentley told BT Sport post-fight.
“I felt stronger and better this time in the gym.
I knew if I held my ground, I‘d be able to take him out. He’s (Heffron) a tough guy, and in the third he came at me, but I knew if I covered up I’d be ok. I took his shots and came back”.
Bentley is likely to face mandatory challenger and Commonwealth champion Felix Cash next.
Fury viciously remains undefeated
The undercard was destroyed midweek by several withdrawals due to positive COVID-19 tests, but there were still four preliminary fights to get the go ahead.
Manchester Light Heavyweight Tommy Fury returned to the ring after a near year lay-off to score a second round knockout of Liverpool-based Lithuanian, Genadij Krajevskij, who now remains winless in a dozen contests.
A VERY impressive KO from @tommytntfury 💥
A huge future lies ahead! A four punch combination finishes off Genadij Krajevskij 👏 pic.twitter.com/34S2G4crn0
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) November 13, 2020
A flurry of combinations stunned Krajevskij (0-12) and as Fury (4-0, 3 KOs) stepped up the pace, a lovely right uppercut, followed by three further power shots felled his opponent, with no need for a count.
Krajevskij was down for several minutes, but thankfully regained his senses, with Fury claiming a fourth professional win.
Agyarko halts Chapman
Caoimhin Agyarko remained undefeated, as he stopped Robbie Chapman in seven rounds in their Middleweight contest.
Chapman (6-6) is usually a durable opponent, and he gave the Belfast man food for thought during the contest, until the halfway mark.
Agyarko (8-0, 5 KOs) threw an overhand right that buzzed ‘The Camden Caretaker’ in the seventh, and Chapman quickly unravelled as further lefts and rights rained in.
With nothing coming back, referee Bob Williams rightly jumped in to stop the fight.
Turner trumps Newton
At Super Lightweight, Henry Turner moved to 4-0 with a six round points win over Des Newton.
Turner (4-0) stepped on the gas and pushed for a stoppage in the last couple of rounds, but Newton (8-17, 2 KOs) held firm to hear the final bell after suffering first round defeats in his last two contests.
Referee Bob Williams returned a 60-54 verdict in the 20-year-old’s favour.
Burke Jr collects first stoppage
Kicking off the action on the night was Michael Burke Jr, and the 19-year-old Welterweight impressed in stopping Thomas Broadbent in two rounds.
A swarm of body shots broke Broadbent (8-8, 2 KOs) down and forced him to the canvas, and on the resumption, a couple of meaty overhand rights compelled the referee’s intervention as, the 33-year-old was falling for a second time to hand Burke (4-0 (1 KO) a career first early win.