Battersea boxer Denzel ‘2Sharp’ Bentley is joining up with Surrey County Cricket Club and the ACE Programme to show his cricket skills are sharper than that of his friend, and fellow boxer, Isaac ‘IC’ Chamberlain.
British Middleweight Champion Bentley, 27, is just two months removed from his World Title challenge against feared Kazakhstani puncher Janibek Alimkhanuly in Las Vegas.
In that epic 12-round tussle, the Frank Warren-backed Denzel showed he has World title level ability in the boxing ring but the indoor nets at The Kia Oval will present a different challenge entirely.
Brixton-based Cruiserweight Isaac Chamberlain took up the ‘Boxing vs Cricket’ challenge in November 2022 and though he showed some promise with the ball in his hand, ACE Director of Programmes Chevy Green said of his batting that it was a “little bit shaky at times”.
Chevy will be on-hand again to see first-hand how Denzel fares against his young ACE Programme cricketers, something which he’s very much looking forward to.
Green said: “I really enjoy seeing athletes from other sports pick up a cricket bat and test themselves. It’s not as easy as just trying to swing for the fences, it’s a very technical sport, and it’s always fun to see people find that out for themselves.
“It’s good for the kids from the ACE Programme, too, having world class athletes around. When Isaac was here, he spoke really well about the importance of hard work, discipline, and the need to relentlessly pursue your dream.
“I’m looking forward to speaking to Denzel, having him share some of his experiences from his career and hopefully take something away from that which will help our aspiring professional athletes.”
Denzel boasts a professional boxing record of 17-2-1 and is the current British Middleweight Champion – having beaten highly rated Linus Udofia in what was a fight-of-the-year calibre match-up last May.
Victory over Udofia was followed by a dominant 4th round stoppage victory over the experienced Marcus Morrison before Bentley flew to Vegas to fight the man whom many consider to be the ‘boogeyman’ of the Middleweight division.
Janibek ‘Qazaq Style’ Alimkhanuly had KO’d 8 of his 12 previous opponents before meeting Denzel at the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas. So-called boxing ‘experts’ had considered the Bentley match-up would be a routine victory for the 29-year-old former Olympian from Kazakhstan.
They hadn’t counted on the quality, grit, and determination of Denzel Bentley.
Speaking to kiaoval.com, Denzel said: “I’m really looking forward to trying my hand at a different sport. Just like Isaac before me, I’m pretty competitive so I want to do well!
“I watched all the videos of Isaac in the nets and it looked as if he did alright… but I think I can do better,” laughed Bentley.
“I’ve been looking up the work of the ACE Programme, and what Chevy and Ebony are doing to engage the black community in cricket and I really want to hear more about what they do.
“I think getting young people from all backgrounds involved in sports is one of the most important things we can do, in terms of not just health and fitness but also teaching discipline, teamwork, respect.
“I’m looking forward to meeting some of the kids from the ACE Programme and hope that some of my experiences might help or inspire them.”
Stay tuned to the Surrey County Cricket Club social media channels to see how Denzel gets on.