RIVER Wilson Bent fought to a controversial draw against Tyler Denny for the English middleweight title – after the bout was halted in the seventh round with Bent bleeding profusely from a cut above his eye.
Referee Ian John-Lewis ruled that the cut was inflicted by a clash of heads although television replays suggest the cut was caused by a punch from the previous round.
Denny – who believed he had won the fight – saw his celebrations cut short at the Skydome Arena after the judge’s scored the contest a draw.
One judge scored the contest 68-65 in favour of Coventry fighter Bent, another had the score 67-66 in favour of Denny whilst the final judge had it level.
Bent – who wore Coventry City inspired sky blue and white shorts – had the better of the first round before Denny responded with a strong second round despite a late flourish from the home favourite.
And Bent dictated the pace of the third round using his jab before shading a close fourth round after which both fighters were berated by their respective trainer’s.
However, Denny responded better in the fifth and hurt Bent with a shot to the body before causing the nasty cut that would stop the fight in the sixth round.
A vicious punch to Bent’s left eye saw the referee step in to inspect the cut before allowing the fight to continue which came after Bent had enjoyed success earlier in the round.
And after Denny opened up the cut again at the start of the seventh – referee John-Lewis was left with no choice but to stop the fight.
Unaware that the referee believed the cut had come from a clash of heads – Denny leapt onto the ropes in celebration much to the confusion of everyone inside the Skydome Arena.
Boos rang around the Arena as the draw verdict was announced with Denny visibly angry with the decision having been in the ascendancy at the time the fight was stopped.
It remains to be seen whether the pair will have a rematch with the middleweight title remaining vacant following the draw.