Unbeaten heavyweight Mark Bennett continues rapid rise – wants Central Area title next

Photo credit: Tierney Photography

Mark ‘Bad News’ Bennett (5-0) defeated Miles Willington (1-6) 60-54 on points over six rounds at the heavyweight limit on June 22 at North Notts Arena in Worksop on a JE Promotions and Scott Calow Boxing event titled ‘The Future’.

It was both combatants first six-rounder in the professional ranks, as Doncaster’s Bennett moved up to five fights unbeaten and Grantham’s Willington dropped to six defeats in seven outings.

Willington took a beating from the home fighter but wouldn’t go down and hung in there until the final bell.

Post-fight Bennett, now listed at 17th in the British heavyweight rankings with BoxRec, gave praise to his game opponent, “He’s a tough kid, but that’s what his job is, he goes around with lads like myself and testing us.

“I was catching him well, especially to the body; I wanted it to go the full six rounds because I’ve got the Central Area next, hopefully, I’m pushing for that. I had an injury to my ribs so had four days off training so didn’t want to push my fitness too much.

“Tonight, I boxed; the one at the Harvey Haddon, the fight with [Kamil] Sokolowski and [Dorian] Darch, I brawled, so I can do best of both worlds, but hopefully I’m getting in the mix now.

During his fight camp, the unbeaten heavyweight trained by Michael White at the Fighting Fit Gym spent a lot of time at Ricky Hatton’s Manchester gym, experiencing rounds with the Lineal heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury as he prepared for his Las Vegas debut with Tom Schwarz, which he won in two rounds on June 15.

“I went up to the Hatton gym to spar Tyson Fury and I did rounds with Nathan Gorman and Fabio Wardley, there’s three big names right there in British boxing, in world boxing actually. It was really good, Tyson had a few more gears than me but I was appreciative of the experience.”

Bennett has been chasing after the Central Area heavyweight champion Kash Ali for over a year now, but the belt has now become vacant after his lack of defences and recent ban after his biting antics in his fight with David Price last March.

Therefore, Bennett is first in line to challenge for the vacant title, he said, “I’m gonna’ push for the Central Area heavyweight title next and if there’s a heavyweight Ultimate Boxxer tournament then I wanna’ get in it.”

Sheffield's Sonny Boy Price (7-0) got another win under his belt, defeating Welshman Rhys Saunders (3-17-1). It was a calm and collected performance to gain another comfortable win, the 22-year-old is yet to lose a single round.

The 22-year-old from Swallownest, said post fight, "Broke my hand a week ago, but god willing I got the win.

"I've got no title fights lined up but we're looking at the Central Area. I'm going to have some time off, rest my hand, then come back to do another six-rounder.

"I was driving here tonight and I could feel the pain in my hand and I thought, 'What am I doin? I'm being stupid'. I got warmed up, I'm here now, I just jab, jab, move, I didn't even hit him with it. If my hand was better, then I think I would have stopped him. Rhys Saunders was a step up for me, he's a tough lad. I think I broke his nose, he's a good lad though, he's respected, he don't get stopped."

The prospect from South Yorkshire, trained by Michael White at the Fighting Fit Gym, was a standout amateur winning seven Yorkshire titles when boxing out of the Steel City Gym in Sheffield. Manager Joe Elfidh has confirmed he will be looking at putting him forward for the Central Area title next.

Dylan Clegg (4-0) had a tough fight against Latvian Raimonds Sniedze (13-48-2), but outpointed him despite facing some adversity.

Clegg took some big shots in rounds two and three and discussed in his post-fight interview, "He was a tough kid but I got in and did what I did, got a tough chin I suppose haven't I?" He joked.

"He came to fight. I never felt in trouble tonight, I busted my hand in the first round. Just kept jabbing, it was frustrating when I couldn't throw it, but it's a learning curve."

Debutant Declan Cairns (1-0) landed a huge left hook on fellow debutant JJ Smith (0-1) to signal the start of the end as he trapped him in the corner and unloaded in a barrage of hooks to kick off his pro career with a TKO win.

Cameron Kaihau (2-0) decked opponent Victor Edagha (1-59-2) en-route to doubling his win tally.