In his first fight back since his world title defeat to Janibek Alimkhanuly in November, Denzel Bentley made a statement by knocking out Kieran Smith in just 45 seconds at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Bentley, the British middleweight champion, showed that he is a force to be reckoned with in the domestic scene with this blistering performance.
Smith, who had only suffered one defeat in his previous 19 fights, was expected to provide a tough test for Bentley, but he was steamrolled from the opening bell.
A savage left hook sent Smith stumbling backwards, and Bentley pounced on his wounded opponent with a straight right hand to the body and a huge right hook upstairs that dropped Smith heavily. Referee Mark Lyson had no choice but to stop the contest, as Smith was in no condition to continue.
Bentley's devastating finish was a reminder of his punching power, and it sends a clear message to the rest of the middleweight division in Britain. The 28-year-old from Battersea has now improved his record to 15 wins and 1 loss, with 12 of his victories coming by way of knockout.
After the fight, Bentley said, "I'm back and I'm ready for anyone. I felt like a caged lion waiting to come out tonight. I wanted to make a statement and show that I'm still one of the best middleweights in Britain. I'm looking forward to defending my title again soon and taking on bigger challenges in the future."
Bentley's return to the ring was a success, and he has put the rest of the British middleweight division on notice with his emphatic performance. For Smith, it's a setback, but he'll have to regroup and bounce back from this defeat.