Nathan Heaney and Kozin Win Key Battles; Ball Decisions Dogboe
Fighting in front of a bevy of supporters at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, Nathan Heaney (18-0, 6 KOs) produced a career-best performance en route to a majority decision victory (114-114, 116-113, 117-111) over former middleweight world title challenger Denzel Bentley (18-3-1, 15 KOs).
Understanding he was in the ring against a bigger puncher, the fleet-footed Heaney moved early and often. But after four rounds, the fight was even, and it seemed that Bentley was starting to find some success.
However, from the middle rounds on, it was all Heaney. He did an excellent job of continuing with his purposeful footwork to create angles before letting his combinations go and stepping around his adversary. Bentley was much too slow and did a poor job cutting off the ring. From the ninth round up to the final bell, Heaney was full of confidence, while Bentley was reduced to swinging widely in hopes of landing a knockout shot. During the post-fight interview, Heaney said that his promoter, Frank Warren, promised him a world title fight in 2024.
NICK BALL TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS AGAINST ISAAC DOGBOE
In what was a WBC featherweight world title eliminator, Nick Ball (19-0, 11 KOs) came away with the biggest win of his career to date by defeating former junior featherweight champion Isaac Dogboe (24-4, 15 KOs) by unanimous decision (118-109, 116-111, 119-108) at Manchester Arena, in Manchester, England.
Things got off to a rocky start for Ball, as he got rocked by a left hook from Dogboe near the end of round two. But following that brief scare, Ball took control.
He worked the jab and followed up with a series of combinations to the head and body. Dogboe had his moments, occasionally landing with hard counterpunches. But the former world champion couldn’t keep up with the relentless pace of the energetic Ball, who dominated the last half of the contest. With the victory, Ball will become the mandatory challenger for the reigning WBC champion at 126 pounds, Rey Vargas.
EMA KOZIN DEFEATS HANNAH RANKIN
At the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, Ema “The Princess” Kozin (24-1-1, 12 KOs) scored a split decision victory over former junior middleweight Hannah “The Classical Warrior” Rankin (13-7, 3 KOs) (96-94 Rankin, 98-92 Kozin, 96-94 Kozin) to win the vacant WBC and WBO women’s junior middleweight titles.
A southpaw, Kozin began the action as the aggressor, looking to land with her best punch, the straight left hand. But Rankin did a decent job of using her height and reach to create space and keep her opponent at bay.
During the middle rounds, Rankin began to diversify her attack. She fought more on the front foot, doubling and tripling up with the jab and digging in combinations to the body. Kozin made her adjustments of her own, doing more sticking and moving. Sensing the fight was close, they went all out in an exciting tenth and final round.
In truth, this fight couldn’t have gone either way. As a result, it would not be a surprise if the ladies if there was a rematch at some point in 2024.