Express & Star

Tyler Denny 'here to stay' after European title defence

Tyler Denny declared “I’m here to stay” in the middleweight division after once more upsetting the odds to beat Felix Cash and retain his European title.

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The 32-year-old from Rowley Regis celebrated one of the biggest but also easiest victories of his career in a one-sided bout at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena on Saturday night.

Though the fight was ultimately decided by technical decision, with referee Mark Lyson deeming previously unbeaten former British champion Cash unfit to continue after sustaining a gruesome cut to his right eye – ruled to be from a head clash – Denny was well on top when the fight was halted 35 seconds into the fifth round.

The former plumber has now won six fights on the spin and is moving toward possible world title contention.

He said: “I was always confident. My team was confident. We have come and shown everyone what we are about.

“I am here to stay. People have been writing me off. I saw a few comments, that it was going to be over in so many rounds. Tomorrow I am going to reply to some of these guys and say: ‘Yeah, what are you saying now?’

“A lot of people like to talk rubbish on the internet. I have earned the right to be a bit smug.”

Cash, like so many other of Denny’s recent opponents, was favourite with the bookmakers heading into the bout.

The 31-year-old from Wokingham, fighting for the first time in 18 months, cut a confident figure in the build-up, telling Denny he had “no chance” of retaining the belt he won by beating Matteo Signani in Wolverhampton last November.

But Denny said he sensed nerves when Cash lost his cool and pushed him during Friday’s weigh-in and there was a distinctive difference in body language when they entered the ring more than 24 hours later, the challenger pacing the canvas, the champion fixing his opponent in his glare.

Cash, in truth, began well but when Denny upped the pace at the start of the second round he could find no answer. A left hook near the end of the fourth round sent him staggering backward and he was on the ropes again when referee Lyon called a halt to proceedings, 35 seconds into the fifth, after consulting with the ringside doctor.

That sent it to the scorecards and Denny was comfortably ahead on all three, the only slight post-fight frustration being he believed – as did many others at ringside – the cut had been caused by a punch.

He said: “I think I have been robbed of a knockout, there. I don’t think it was building up to a nice fight. I think it was building up to a beat down.

“I was winning the fight and hurting him regularly. He has got away with one there. But I have the belt and that is all that matters.”

Denny has beaten five previously unbeaten opponents in his last eight fights. Cash, once himself tipped for world honours, is now the biggest name on his record but he said: “Is it my biggest win? I’d say it is but it doesn’t really feel like it because it wasn’t that hard of a fight.

“It was one of my biggest wins but one of my easiest as well.”

Asked about Cash’s confidence during the build-up, Denny replied: “He was brash but he wasn’t confident. It was why he pushed me at the weigh in. He was rattled and nervous and I sensed that.

“I was just there smiling, thinking: ‘We will see’. And we have just seen. I was the underdog. A know a lot of people put some money on and they can buy me a drink now!”