By Mkuu Amani
Middleweight southpaw Tyler Denny grabbed his 8th Professional win when he beat Raimonds Sniedze on the exciting undercard of BCB Promotions’ ‘Neutral Ground – Battle of the Baggies’ at Walsall Town Hall on 4th May 2018.
It was Denny’s first return to the venue and first fight in fact since he upset the odds to beat Tom Stokes and claim the Midlands Area Middleweight Title back in September 2017.
MBC managed to catch up with Denny to ask him a few questions about his recent success and his career in the ring so far.
About the ‘Neutral Ground’ Event and his undercard fight.
What were your thoughts about the fight, what did you learn from it and what was it like fighting under BCB for the first time?
“It was good just to have a fight again because it’s been too long. I’ve had a lot of hard sparring lately and then that (fight) was just like the opposite really. I want them big fights now. I’ve not fought for a while so I was never gonna go into a big hard fight this time but my style is more like a counterpuncher and that, so when they (the opponent) don’t fire that much I think it’s harder for me really.”
So you prefer when a fighter comes at you?
“Yeah definitely. But I had to be the aggressor this time and I was walking him down and it’s not really my style.”
Was that the game plan out of the window then?
“Well I knew what he was like. A tall guy and that, so I knew I’d have to probably take it to him. He’s a lot taller than me. But I think when I get in with a live opponent who’s coming to win…Well, I don’t think he (Sniedze) really came to win. Maybe he did want to at the beginning but after two rounds or something he just thought ‘I just really wanna see the end of the bout here.’
“Whereas my last fight I fought Tom Stokes and he was game and he was coming forward and I was just catching him as he was coming in and then moving off.
“I think you’ve gotta have a bit of everything. And to keep fighting different opponents you have to have different styles as well. Every fight’s different. A ‘Plan A’ fight for me against a neutral opponent I’m normally on the back foot to counter and slip and stuff like that but that fight I was pushing him back all the time which I don’t mind but if you watch me most times I’m on the back foot.
“As long as I get the win. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win ain’t ya.”
What was the event like for you and how did it feel fighting in front of so many people?
“Yeah, that main event. There was a big build up as well.I enjoyed being a part of it and there was a lot of press around it with the press conference. And because the main fight was at my weight I had even more of an interest in it. I’ve sparred with both of them before. I did pick Welborn to win to be fair but I think Tommy boxed all wrong really in my opinion.
You know Welborn well?
“Yeah, we’re good mates really and both from Rowley Regis so I’ve known him for a long time. He was at our gym before when he fought Macklin and when he beat Morrison we were training together and sparring together at the same gym but he’s moved back to Errol and Paul Mann now. I get along with him.”
So where does that put the possibility of a Denny vs. Welborn fight?
“Well it’s awkward really but if the opportunity comes I’d have to say yes because it’s a big fight. British Title or something. We’d have to put friendship aside. We’ve spoken about the possibility of fighting and we both think it’s a brilliant fight.
“Im pretty sure there’s a (Langford vs. Welborn) rematch clause anyway. I know no-one’s really talked about it but I’m pretty sure there’s a rematch clause.”
Yes, It was such a close fight we wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been called a draw.
“It was a close fight. Even if Langford had got it by one round I don’t think anyone would have called robbery or anything. I think all the rounds were close. I just think Langford went about it the wrong way – he tried to fight Welborn and I was just shocked really. With his amateur fights and his pedigree I don’t know if Welborn got to him or something with all the stuff they’ve been saying in the build up. He shocked me really because he was just standing toe to toe with him. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done loads of rounds with Welborn and he does draw you into a fight when you don’t want to but it seemed a bit ‘Plan A’ for Langford to just stand there with him and it never went well straightaway, second round he got a countered.”
“He (Langford) still had some success with what he was doing. Probably round six to ten Welborn’s pace dropped and Tommy was just peppering him with some little combos. When he did that and stood back he looked good. I dunno, I expected more jabs but it was more exciting than I thought it was gonna be.”
About his Career.
So where did it start for you? When did you first climb into the ring and what was it that got you in there?
“My mate used to always do boxing when we were kids but I was always playing football. He kept saying to come down to Old Hill Amateur Boxing Club. I went there when I was about 16 and never looked back really.
“I never used to diet or anything and I only used to train twice a week and I used to fight at light heavyweight but when I think back now I think I never really took it serious as an amateur. Tuesday and a Thursday I used to go down there. It was just for fun really and it is now but I can see some potential now to put the effort in and get somewhere. It was just a hobby and something to do before.”
Okay well maybe it was just a hobby but at some point you had a fight coming up.
How did that come about?
“In amateur boxing you can just say you’ll box and then they’ll say ‘ok, well you have a fight next Tuesday’ and you’re like ‘ok then.’
“You’ve always gotta be half ready. It was at the drop of a hat really until I went into doing tournaments like the ABA’s. Then you’d know you’d be fighting in like a month or so and proper knuckle down. I tried to get down to 75 kgs cos I used to fight at 81 kgs but I never knew what I was doing with my food really. Now I’ve got Brett Smith who helps me out. If I’d have had him back then I think I could have done a lot more and fought at a weight more suited to me. But it was the dedication as well. I only used to train twice a week and when I did have a fight I didn’t really think anything of it and just did it as a bit of fun.”
How did you get on as an amateur?
“I won 25 and lost 10. I think I won my first one then lost three in a row and had a record of won one lost three. I won ten in a row after that.”
With that kind of record you must have been thinking ‘I’ve got something here.’
“Yeah. That’s when I started believing really. Before then I used to just turn up and whatever would happen would happen. But then I learned that winning is a habit and I think losing’s a habit really too. You learn how to win. You find a way.”
So you started your pro career with a win at The Venue in Dudley.
“Yeah. I’m only from Blackheath as well, only about 3 miles away so I could sell tickets as well – which is a big thing in Pro boxing because if you don’t sell tickets you don’t fight. It’s as simple as that really.”
And what made you decide to turn Pro?
“I was training as an amateur but my mate Steven Pearce fought at pro. I got talking to him and he said to come down to the gym. I think that’s when I started to improve as an amateur as well because my last ten fights as an amateur I was training with the pros and I saw how they trained. I think it helped out a lot. Then I started sparring and one day I was sparring with Andrew Robinson and his promotor turned up and he said to me ‘why don’t you go pro?’ and I was thinking, yeah I could do. Andrew was pro at the time and his promotor saw me and said I should go pro and he wanted to sign me up. So that was it.
“He (Andrew Robinson) helps me out a lot in sparring because he’s tough and he’s fit and he keeps coming.”
You were pretty active in you first fights in 2015.
“Yeah, I was doing well and on a bit of a roll and then I think I got injured. I hurt my hand sparring with Mike Byles. He had a hard head. I had to pull out of a fight. I was about two or three weeks away from the fight and my hand just swelled up.
“I was meant to actually fight Byles further down the line for the Challenge Belt but he pulled out so I ended up fighting Anthony Fox instead. Which is probably a harder fight. Anthony Fox is tough. He beat Ryan Aston last week or the week before? He’s a lot better than his record suggests.
“I did expect Ryan to win but I wasn’t mega shocked because I’ve been in there with Ryan myself and I know he’s a tough guy. I wasn’t blown away by it but you’d still think that Ryan would win”
End of 2015 start of 2016 two draws for you. How much did injury play a part?
“I can’t totally remember but with those draws, in hindsight I was wounded at the time. I fought Lucas and to be fair I thought that was fair ‘cos I didn’t box well. I fought Hoskin-Gomez and I was really shocked at that decision. I lost the last round but I was three up and it was only a four rounder. I’d won the first three quite convincingly in my eyes so I was shocked at that. but now I look back it probably did me good anyway. It gave me a bit of a kick up the arse. I never want that to happen again.
“When I got those draws, mentally it did feel like a loss and I was a bit gutted. But because I’d got those two draws that’s why I think Tom Stokes was so keen to fight me for the Midlands Title. Because of the draws I think he was looking at it like it was gonna be an easy win for him whereas if I’d won all of my fights I don’t think they would have been so keen. So it probably played out well for me.
So then the Title Fight. A really big fight for you. How did you prepare for that fight?
“That was a massive fight for me and to be fair I couldn’t have prepared more than I did. I was sparring with Tommy Langford for that actually. I had a lot of sparring and sparred with Sam Eggington. Every Sunday and Tuesday I was going to Eastside Gym in Birmingham with John Pegg. Obviously Lyndon (my trainer) would take me but we’d just have loads of sparring up there and I think that was key. That (fight) was my first ten rounder. I’d only done one six rounder and one eight rounder before and all the rest were fours so I just wanted to make sure I had the energy to go the ten rounds – which I did. I think I faded for two rounds towards the end but then I came back.
“It was a good job that I fought Anthony Fox ‘cos he gave me eight hard rounds and that was good preparation for Stokes really. “
And how did you celebrate after winning that Title?
“I was just buzzing for ages, because I was a big under-dog as well. I remember seeing the odds and a few people bet a bit of money on me and earned quite a bit to be fair (laughs). A few sorted me out with a few drinks.
“That said it feels a bit awkward because that was seven months ago and I’ve only just had another fight since. I was expecting things to kick on from there but for one reason or another it just hasn’t.”
On signing to BCB and looking at the future.
You’ve recently joined the Black Country Boxing stable and the fight at ‘Neutral Ground’ was your first under the BCB Banner.
“My contract was up with my old promotor around February. After Christmas when I still didn’t have a fight I sat down with my coach and we decided I’d speak to Errol Johnson and BCB. I spoke to Errol and when I see everything that BCB are doing, they’ve got some good movements. I think they’re doing the best in the Midlands at the minute.
“Leaving my old promotor was a hard decision for me really. To be fair it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in boxing – telling him that I’m leaving and I’m going to someone else – because on paper he got me the Challenge Belt and he got me the Midlands Title fight and it was awkward but I just felt like that was as far as we could go. And when I think about it the Midlands Title fight was on a BCB show against a BCB fighter and really I was just an opponent. Now I’ve signed with them maybe I can be their main guy and have opponents found for me.”
It’s funny how things work out.
“Yeah. I never would have thought that I’d be signed with them after just beating their guy. It is funny how things work out.
“It’s an amazing difference from where I was at really. You was at the Genting Arena – a massive show. The main fight never happened in the end with Frankie Gavin but they still made it happen. That would have never happened with my last promotor. Them kind of shows – and even just now with the British Title fight. Dave Allen was in there. It’s kinda mad really. You don’t really get stuff like this happening in the Midlands.
“There’s a lot going on in the Midlands now and it’s only gonna get bigger. Jason just becoming British Champion, Lennox Clarke doing a lot, Andrew Robinson’s got a good fight coming up, I’m sure I can get some good fights. There’s a lot going on man. Exciting times I think.”
And where are you looking to take your career next?
“I’d like the British (Title) but I just wanna be active really. That’s the main thing. I got a little cut on my eye after that last fight, from an elbow but hopefully that heals up good and I stay active. Especially after having seven months off I just want to be active now.
“There’s the British (Title) out there. Liam Cameron’s got the Commonwealth Title. I’d like that fight as well. I think that would probably be a tougher fight than for the British. Cameron knocked out Nicky Jenman recently and it says a lot about Cameron. He’s massive at the weight, I dunno how he does the weight. Elliot Mathews has got the English title which I got made for an eliminator but my opponent moved camps so nothing’s come of that. I just want to be in some meaningful fights.
“I’m with the right team now. BCB gets stuff done and they have loads of shows whereas my last promotor wasn’t having enough shows. Maybe two or three a year whereas BCB they’ve already had three shows this year and have another one in June in Wolverhampton.”
“And I know that this isn’t just a hobby for Errol Johnson, it’s his living. That’s another reason why I wanted to join up with BCB.
Sounds like you’ve been very self motivated throughout your career.
Yeah. Lyndon Scarlett’s my coach and he helps me out a lot but I think with boxing you’ve gotta be self motivated really because it’s only you getting in that ring. The hardest part about boxing is living the life outside of the gym. The discipline side, your eating and going for your runs because you can’t lie can you? The scales don’t lie. If you say ‘I ain’t been eating this and that’ the scales will say otherwise. With your fitness, you can tell your coach ‘yeah I’ve been for a run this morning and whatever but when you’re knackered they can see it. You can’t lie and you’ve gotta put 100% in man. It is hard but I’m motivated.”
Are there any boxers out there that you’re particularly inspired by right now?
“Billy Joe Saunders. I think because I’m a southpaw as well I just like watching him and his little counters on the back foot. That’s probably more my sort of style. To try to hit and not get hit. I’ve probably watched his performance against David Lemieux twenty times.
“Lomachenko. He’s like next level. It’s hard for any boxer to do some of the stuff he does. I think he’s just got mad talent. I don’t think you can teach that sort of stuff. But yeah, Billy Joe Saunders is the main guy I like.”
- Thanks for speaking to MBC Champ