After almost 18 months out of the ring, Tyler Denny is set to step through the ropes once again next Friday night, as he takes on Derrick Osaze in an all-British middleweight contest.
In what will be his first fight post pandemic, Denny most certainly has the bit between his teeth and is more determined than ever to show boxing fans just how good he is. Next Friday is hopefully just the start for the West Midlands man, as he aims to get back to winning ways and climb up the middleweight rankings.
Deny is looking to get back to winning ways this Friday (Photo: @BCB_Boxing on Twitter)
Ahead of this fight, Denny insists he’s had the best training he can possibly have, with top level sparring all throughout camp.
“Training has been great, I’ve had some top sparring. I was sparring Ben Whittaker last week who is a bit of a different style to Osaze, but it will always help the more sparring you do. I’ve sparred Lennox Clarke all through camp, Zach Parker, Ricky Summers. We’ve got really good sparring in the gym. Two weeks ago was the first day I’ve actually been out for sparring, up in Manchester, it’s all just been there for me. My weight is good, fitness is there and I’m just ready to put on a show now.”
18 months out of the ring is a long time for any fighter, and that is no different for the 29-year-old. Although the long absence from the ring will have been a frustrating period for the 5”10 southpaw, Denny believes it has done him the world of good.
Having teamed up with a new gym and new coaches, the long layoff has given Denny the chance to build a rapport with his new coaching staff and work on his craft non-stop.
“I’ve been training all the way through. It might have even done me good because I’ve moved camps since my last fight as well. It’s been over a year now since I moved, I think it was last March I came to Errol Johnson, so it’s given me time to work with him.
“All the other lads have had fights coming up as well, Lennox [Clarke] fought and won the British a month or so ago, Zach Parker is fighting soon, so I’ve been busy and stayed active for sure. There’s a really good healthy rivalry in our gym as well which is great, nobody wants to lose a sparring session, so I’ve made sure I’m on it at all times.”
Denny putting in the work sparring with Ricky Summers (left) (Photo: @tyler_denny91 on Instagram)
Denny’s last fight against Linus Udofia was a tough one to take, losing on the cards by a razor thin majority decision. The West Midlands man believed he had done enough to get his hand raised, but it wasn’t to be.
Since then, as touched on previously, Denny has switched things up in his camp, and believes that this new arrangement will bring out the best of him.
“Errol [Johnson] has always managed me anyway so I’ve always been close to him and his gym, always went there for sparring, so it makes sense really. I had my other coaches blessing and I just think it’s a better move for me. I’m surrounding myself with top level lads, I feel like that has brought me on.”
Denny faces arguably the toughest test of his career on Friday night, with unbeaten Derrick Osaze (10-0) opposite him in the ring. Osaze has some impressive wins on his resume, with the likes of Tey Lynn Jones, Grant Dennis and Kieron Conway suffering defeat at the hands of the unbeaten middleweight.
The 29-year-old knows that Osaze will prove a stern test for him, but Denny is full of confidence that he has what it takes to get the better of him.
“I’ve not seen him in a fight other than in the Ultimate Boxxer tournament, and he did really well, he looked strong and fit, but they’re only three rounds fights, this is a completely different ball game. This is ten rounds. I’m sure he’ll come and be super fit and strong, but I just feel like I’m better than him. I believe I’m better than him in every department and I’m looking to show it.”
Last time out, Denny lost a razor thin points decision to Linus Udofia, in a fight he felt on another night he could have been given the nod. Although this was his last competitive fight, it was almost 18 months ago, so Denny has had plenty of time to assess his performance and dwell on the fight.
Denny in action in his last fight against Linus Udofia
The West Midlands man is using the sickening feeling of losing as motivation, and is raring to go now to put on a great performance and get his hand raised in victory.
“Originally after the fight I was just gutted really. I know I performed well, which gave me confidence and stuff, I was just gutted. I really don’t want that feeling again of losing, that’s the main thing. I’m more determined than ever to win and not have that feeling again.
“I’m a fighter at heart, I just want to fight and I will get in there and look to do a job on him. After last time when I lost a close decision, I want to make it clear that I’m the winner.”
One major factor which may come into play come fight night is that of ring rust. Neither man has fought in a long time, and although they’ll have done plenty of sparring and training for the fight, there is nothing that can replicate the fight itself.
However, Denny believes that won’t be a factor for him at all, and thinks that all of the time off has been a blessing in disguise for him and his career.
“I won’t be rusty, no. If anything it’s been good for me because it’s given me time to work with my coach and I’m getting top sparring in all of the time. I’ve been through camps with other lads as well, doing running sessions and the likes, so it’s been great for me really.
“Don’t get me wrong, ideally I would’ve fought by now or had a few fights under my belt, but some things were lined up and never got pulled off. I think that’s boxing though, so you’ve just got to carry on. This is my time now and I’m just looking to make the most of it.”
The West Midlands man has been getting quality sparring all throughout camp ahead of this fight with Osaze (Photo: tyler_denny91 on Instagram)
When asked whether he thinks it’s fair to call this match up a genuine 50/50 fight, Denny totally understood why it could be billed this way, but believes that he will prove it is far from a 50/50 ‘pick’em’ come fight night.
“Yes, I think that’s fair enough really. Obviously I think I’m going to win, but the guy has won all 10 of his fights so you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He beat some good guys as well like Kieron Conway and Grant Dennis, but again they were over three rounds. Let’s see if he can do it for ten rounds. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he’s fit enough to do it but I believe I’m better than those guys as well. I’m just a better fighter.”
A win next weekend would be massive for the middleweight southpaw, who wants to put his name in with the best in the division in the not so distant future. Getting his hand raised would help Denny well on his way to climbing the British rankings, and potentially even fighting for the Lonsdale belt within the next 12 months.
When asked what he wants to do next, provided he beats Osaze of course, Denny said:
“Big fights. That’s what I’ve got to get onto my manager about. I’ve already got onto him, but I’ll take one fight at a time. But I want some big fights really.
“I’ve been in this game for a bit now, so you see people you spar with regularly like Lennox Clarke winning the British, Zach Parker winning the British and now he’s number one contender in the world, so you want some of that. You’re obviously happy for them, but you want your piece as well, and I feel that’s the level I belong at too.”
Ahead of this fight, one thing that might have been questioned is whether the Midlands man has the power to hang with the best in Britain at middleweight. Denny is yet to stop any of the opponents he has faced, but that doesn’t mean he can’t punch. Not by any stretch.
Although his knockout record might not reflect it, Denny believes he is a hard puncher at 160-pounds, and that a stoppage win on Friday night in Sheffield, isn’t out of the realms of possibility.
“I feel like I’m punching harder than I ever have before, fitness is there, strength is there. Definitely. I know if I start tagging him early, I can break him down and stop him. But if he’s still there, then I’ll beat him on points. I don’t mind as long as I get the win, but I can definitely stop him, 100%.”
Filled with confidence and a real determination to succeed, Tyler Denny goes into this genuine 50/50 fight on Friday night with Derrick Osaze with the bit between his teeth, and wanting to win more than ever. The 29-year-old is urging fans to tune in, and to expect a top quality performance.
“You can expect the best version of me, ever. Hopefully it’s just the start of things for me, I can get the win and move on. That’s the plan, that’s what I’m going in there to do.”
Official fight night poster (Photo: @tyler_denny91 on Instagram)
Date: Friday 11th June 2021
Time: Ring walk approx. 21.00
Venue: Sheffield Arena Car Park, England, UK
Broadcaster: Fightzone TV