Tyler Denny retained his European middleweight title with a technical decision over Felix Cash on Saturday at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham, England.

Cash suffered a cut over his right eye in the early stages of the fight, and the injury was deemed severe enough to bring a premature halt to the action in the fifth round. Denny had been the boss over the first four rounds, however, and there was no doubt that he deserved the unanimous decision he was awarded. 

Cash, a 31-year-old former British champion, had been out of the ring for 18 months, and nobody – maybe even he – quite knew what to expect. Would we see the return of the powerful, ruthless fighter who stopped Denzel Bentley three years ago or the listless, flat fighter who was dropped twice by Mogomed Maiden the following year? Would the 18 months he had spent out of the ring affect him negatively or would the time away and his new partnership with Adam Booth re-light his fire and be the catalyst for a new, improved Cash?

Whereas Cash (16-1, 10 KOs) had been inactive, Denny (19-2-3, 1 KO) has been on an outstanding run of form. He had been unbeaten in almost five years leading up to Saturday, and he had taken a number of notable scalps. A career that once looked like it may peter out reached new levels last November when Denny stopped Italy’s Matteo Signani to win the prestigious European title. Still, Denny, a perennial underdog, was again written off by many ahead of his maiden defense.

Cash immediately began to search for his rhythm, moving around Denny and looking to catch the champion with short shots. A composed Denny landed a couple of southpaw right hooks but seemed to be working his way into the fight.

Unsurprisingly, Denny got closer in the second and succeeded in making it his usual type of high-paced, high-contact type of fight. He landed nice left hooks, and Cash began to lose his shape. Denny began to land shots inside, and Cash emerged from one clinch with a cut over his right eye. It looked like Denny had inflicted the injury with a short left hook, but referee Mark Lyson decided it was courtesy of an accidental clash of heads.

Cash suddenly found himself in his first real fight in years whilst Denny fell back into the style and rhythm that has bought him so much success in recent years. He found one beautiful left hand over the top that sent the sweat spraying from Cash’s head. He was also finding Cash relatively easy to hit to the body. 

Cash seemed to have found a semblance of timing in the fourth but was caught and hurt by a massive left hook as the round ended, and immediately knocked back to square one.

Midway through the fifth round, Lyson halted the action and led Cash over to the ringside doctor, who inspected Cash’s cut and advised Lyson to stop the fight. With four rounds having been completed, the fight went to the scorecards. Kevin Parker had Denny ahead 49-46, and Victor Loughlin and Lee Every both had the champion ahead 49-47.

Denny’s dream run continues whilst Cash will have some hard decisions to make.