Britain has a new middleweight champion in Wokingham’s Felix Cash. In a superb display at the famous York Hall, Bethnal Green, east London on Saturday night (24th) the punch perfect Cash literally ripped the title from Battersea’s Denzel Bentley who was making his first defence of the 11st, 6lb (160lb) title.
Broadcast live on BT Sport the power punching Cash entered the contest with the Commonwealth title and a 13-0 (9 KO) record. Much was expected of the contest in the pre-fight build up, after Bentley had spectacularly won the title from Mark Heffron last November, and looked set for a long reign.
Cash dominated from the opening bell as Bentley struggled with his balance and was wobbled by a big left hook 30 seconds in. Cash was clearly intent on taking the fight to the slight looking Bentley and pressed to clearly win the first round. Bentley had a bit more success in the second as he regained his composure, arguably sharing the round.
Cash took control in the third and mid-round pushed Bentley to the ropes and landed a big right hand followed by four heavy consecutive blows in rapid succession to leave referee Victor Loughlin no option but to wave the fight over. The official stoppage was 1:24 of the third.
At 28 years old Cash has truly arrived on the world scene and looks set to break into the rankings. In the post fight interview he said “I stunned him in the first round and knew (it was) only a matter of time until I caught him again”. He went on “He wasn’t as awkward as I thought he was gonna be”.
Cash had brought to the ring a good amateur pedigree, being part of the Team GB setup and was making the third defence of his Commonwealth title. Asked what was next he replied “I want the third, I want to get the European”. In today’s era of splintered and fringe world titles that was music to the ears of the traditionalists. If he can keep the momentum gained from this spectacular victory then we’re in for an exciting few years of middleweight action.
Bentley’s record drops to 14-1-1 (12 KO’s) and should come again.
Chief support on the Queensberry promotion was the return of world ranked light-heavyweight Callum Johnson after two years of inactivity following his KO loss to current 12st, 7lb (175lb) king Artur Beterbiev. Johnson similarly blew away Bosnian Emil Markic inside two rounds. Official time of stoppage 2:30.
Now 35 years old Johnson (19-1, 14 KO’s) dominated the whole contest piling into his opponent from the opening bell. His cornerman Joe Gallagher emphasized the importance of Johnson pacing himself at the end of the first round but the Boston, Lincs man clearly wanted to get the job done and send out a statement to British and Commonwealth champion Lyndon Arthur (18-0, 12 KO’s) part of the BT presentation team on the night. This he did in spectacular fashion and the prospect of that and a potential domestic round-robin with come-backing Anthony Yarde is mouthwatering. Whoever emerges from that can rightly claim to have earned a shot at any of the champions in a red hot world light-heavyweight division.
WBA ‘super’ world champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KO’s)defends his title in London this weekend on the Chisora-Parker undercard and will give observers a good view as to the depth of the division and skills of the current champions. This is a Matchroom Boxing promotion on Sky Box Office.
Other big news of the weekend was the imminent return of former undisputed world lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO’s) in Las Vegas on June 26 against Japanese contender Masayoshi Nakatini (19-1, 13 KO’s). Lomachenko has been out the ring since losing to Teofimo Lopez in October and his return is much welcome.