DANNY Dignum is considering retirement if he doesn’t defeat Denzel Bentley on Saturday evening. Those were the words of the man himself as the pair met earlier today to publicise their York Hall crossroads clash on Saturday, May 11. 

The former world title challenger is piling the pressure on himself to pull through against a local rival he has shared the sparring ring with numerous times over the years.

“We’re both good fighters, both sort of at a crossroads,” Dignum deliberated. “The winner goes on to big things and the loser, well for me, it’s retirement because I’m not in the rebuilding process. 

“I don’t want to give up boxing, I want to carry on, so I have got to win this fight. I’ve trained so hard, but for me to rebuild or whatever, I don’t want to be doing that, so I must win this fight to carry on.”

Prior to his world title tilt in 2022, Dignum had amassed a 14-0-1 record mostly at domestic level. Fighting Janibek Alimkhanuly was just too big of a jump in class and he was dealt with inside two rounds. This fight, while a tough assignment, is much more winnable if preparation matches expectation.

“If I turn up on the night, I believe I can win,” added Dignum (16-1-1, 9 KOs). “It’s alright me saying it, I’ve got to do it.”

Danny Dignum celebrates a previous win at the York Hall (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Rejecting the notion of a bounce-back or comeback fight, opponent Denzel Bentley is just focusing on the fact that he’s involved in a 50-50 contest. Promoter Frank Warren has labelled this as a must-win affair for Bentley following his losing effort to Nathan Heaney last time out. An out-of-sorts Denzel surrendered his British title in the process.

“Every fight’s a must-win fight. This isn’t a confidence booster or a feel-good fight, this is a real fight and after I beat Danny, I’ll feel good,” said Bentley.

Conceding that his former sparring partner was a very good amateur and is a skilled professional, Bentley reads nothing into Dignum’s display against common opponent Alimkhanuly referring to it as a slip-up. Faring much better when he fought Janibek -losing over 12 competitive rounds – “2 Sharp” isn’t buying Danny’s retirement talk either.

“That’s his problem. I’m not buying into that stuff,” said Bentley. “If he wants to retire, then good luck to him. He probably doesn’t believe in himself anymore, and this is a dangerous sport to be in. You can’t be one foot in, one foot out.”

The 18-3-1 (15 KOs) fighter from Battersea was asked what is different now as opposed to the turmoil of the Heaney build-up.

“A clear mindset,” smiled Bentley, who is hoping to carry that level of clarity into the York Hall on Saturday evening.

On the undercard, Ryan Garner meets former British super-featherweight champion Liam Dillon in a 10-round WBC International title clash.

“I had two good back-to-back wins and then I was supposed to fight [Anthony] Cacace. He pulled out through injury, then I got injured, so let’s get the ball rolling again,” said a positive Garner. 

A fight with Archie Sharp, who was sitting next to Garner, has been talked about. There’s no beef between the pair and it’s news to the 14-0 Southampton fighter, but if everything makes sense, he’s on board.

“That’s the first I’ve heard about it,” said “The Piranha”. 

“Things get talked about behind closed doors, but I was speaking to Archie and we get along well. It’s business at the end of the day; it’s boxing. We are just here to provide for our families first and foremost.”