The British middleweight division has gone from strength to strength already this year.

Firstly, Hamzah Sheeraz took apart Liam Williams, cementing his position as one of British boxing’s brightest hopes. That was closely followed by Nathan Heaney and Brad Pauls going to war in a tremendous battle for Heaney’s British title. Then, Sheeraz’s outstanding fight with Austin “Ammo” Williams was confirmed.

Meanwhile, European 160lbs champion Tyler Denny sat, quietly watching things unfold, hoping that his time would come.

Denny, 18-2-3 (1 KO), has been out of action since winning the EBU title in front of a raucous crowd in Wolverhampton last November but, last week, it was finally announced that he will bring his absence from the ring to an end with an attractive looking defense of his belt against Felix Cash. The fight will headline Matchroom’s show at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena on June 22. 

“It’s been a bit frustrating,” Denny told BoxingScene about his lay-off. “I was meant to have a voluntary in February or at the beginning of March but because it took ages getting it done, the EBU put Cash straight on me. I don’t mind that at all but if you don’t fight, you don’t get paid do you?

“This is definitely the biggest night of my career. I’m looking forward to it all. The atmosphere, the fighting, the build up. It’s gonna be a real dungeon. I can’t wait.”

Denny’s record may not be littered with well known, big name opponents after a slow but steady start to his career, the 32-year-old has accounted for a string of ambitious, unbeaten prospects.

Over the space of two and a half years, Denny went from taking Derrick Osaze’s ‘0’ in a car park in Sheffield to headlining a Sky Sports show and recording the first stoppage of his career to take the European title from Italy’s Matteo Signani. Along the way, he also accounted for River Wilson-Bent, Brad Rea, Brad Pauls and Macaulay McGowan.

Still, his is regularly – and a little patronisingly – described as a feel-good story while the 160lbs division’s bigger names hoover up the bulk of the attention. 

“It’s a bit mad really but I don’t mind. Everybody gets their own little time don’t they?” Denny said. “Now people are going to have to talk about me again. The fight’s done now, so I’ll beat Cash up and make sure they carry on talking about me.

“Maybe I don’t get the credit I deserve sometimes, but I think if you compare mine to everybody else I don’t think many have a C.V like I do over the past few fights.”

Denny has filled out the ‘Experience’ and ‘Accomplishments’ sections of that C.V nicely over the past couple of years. It took him three attempts to win the English middleweight title but once he finally got over that hurdle, his rise to European level was quick. He clearly benefited from the activity and appreciated the chances being presented to him. Make no mistake, Denny was hired as the away fighter for the vast majority of his rise to prominence, but having spent years battling away on small hall shows, he grabbed every opportunity by the scruff of the neck. 

Denny has been raring to go since the turn of the year but although the delay has slowed his momentum, he insists that he will enter the Cash fight firing on all cylinders. 

“I needed the rest after the fight with Macaulay McGowan. I didn’t think I boxed well,” he said. “I fought Brad Rea in November, Brad Pauls in February and then McGowan the first week in May. That was too much. I won but didn’t perform my best. I had a nice break, won the European and was ready to go again after Christmas, but if they’d told me that I’d have to wait but then be headlinIng Resorts World, I’d have happily waited.”

Fighters definitely become more dangerous the happier and more confident they get. It took eight years for Denny to become an overnight sensation and he can’t quite put his finger on what changed so dramatically but hard work, determination and being a part of a thriving gym all played their part.

“It’s hard to pinpoint it really. I think a few things happened at the same time,” he said. “I won the fights and the whole gym’s buzzing – we’ve got Liam Davies in there, too, who I think is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the country at the minute – so you’re training with people like that. I want to outdo him. We have a bit of banter about who’s number one in the gym. I’ve accepted he is after beating Erik Robles in a round or two but only until June 22nd. I’ll have to deal with Cash in good style so I can get back to the top.”

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