Boxing Spotlight: Nathan Heaney’s High-Stakes British Title Defence
Rising to the Occasion: Nathan Heaney’s Title Defence
British middleweight champion Nathan Heaney is gearing up for a crucial fight against Brad Pauls, a contest that could pave the way for a shot at the world title. At 34, the Stoke native is defending his British crown for the first time and battling for a chance to climb the global ranks. The stage is set in Birmingham on 16 March, where Heaney’s boxing prowess and strategic acumen will be put to the test.
Heaney’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. With an unbeaten record of 18 fights, he claimed the British title in a majority decision over Denzel Bentley last November in Manchester. His quick return to the ring underscores his commitment to maintain momentum. “It doesn’t feel like two seconds since I became the British champion. There was a very long gap between my last two or three fights, so to get back so soon feels great,” Heaney reflects on his swift comeback.
World Title Ambitions: Dream Within Reach
Heaney, known as ‘Hitman’, has set his sights on a world title clash with WBO and IBF champion Janibek Alimkhanuly. A victory over Pauls might lead to a summer showdown in Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium, something his promoter Frank Warren has hinted at. “Frank promised the winner of the fight with Denzel Bentley to fight for a world title this year,” Heaney says, underlining the magnitude of the upcoming fight.
Heaney’s opponent, Cornish fighter Brad Pauls, is a force to be reckoned with. He clinched the English belt with an eighth-round knockout of Mitchell Frearson and has only one defeat in his career. Recognizing Paul’s potential, Heaney notes, “He’s someone I knew in the early days because we boxed similar people. He’d stopped certain boxers that I hadn’t – some lads that I beat but hadn’t knocked out, those lads have knocked out. So I know they’ve got the power there.” Heaney is acutely aware of Paul’s ambition to upset the odds.
No Pressure, Just Focus
Despite the high stakes, Heaney remains unphased. He acknowledges the inherent pressure but is singularly focused on the task at hand. “I’d say no,” he responds when asked about feeling additional pressure. “The pressure’s always there. I want to win I don’t want to lose. I can’t imagine waking up the next day feeling like you’d let the whole city down.” Heaney is determined not to repeat the mistake of his previous opponent, Denzel Bentley, who underestimated him.
Reflecting on his career trajectory, Heaney finds it surreal. Once considering quitting the sport to become a teacher, he’s now ranked fourth in the world by the WBO. “It’s totally mad,” he remarks, attributing his success to hard work and dedication. A 19th consecutive win could bring him closer to his dream of a world title fight in his hometown.
Embracing the Present
For Nathan Heaney, the road to boxing glory is paved with dedication, skill, and a clear focus on immediate goals. While the prospect of a world title looms large, he remains grounded, knowing that in the world of boxing, the only certainty is the next fight. As Heaney aptly puts it, “So Stoke and all that doesn’t exist. The only thing that exists is the 16th of March. We’re going to make the most of these nights because you never know when they will end.”