An Interview With Undefeated Middleweight Nathan Heaney
By Will Lott
Growing up many of us dream of being a celebrity, of being celebrated for our achievements and making family and friends proud.
Undefeated middleweight prospect Nathan Heaney takes great pride in representing his beloved Stoke every time he steps in the ring.
Now with every victory, he is edging closer to legendary status in his hometown. So much so, he has recently been nominated for Stoke on Trent’s Sports Personality of the Year:
“What I love is that as people see me keep winning, they now see me as almost the pride of the city. I don’t want to lose because I know that some of these people really do look up to me. There is some pressure on me but at the end of the day I don’t believe I’m going to lose anyway.
“Walking out to 1400 people, I don’t feel the pressure because they’re all there for me.
The nomination is what I got involved in boxing for. Where I fight is where the award ceremony is. It really is a prestigious award. To be nominated for that is incredible and I’m not saying I can win it but if did, bloody hell! I do harbour ambitions of winning the British title and winning a world title and becoming one of the greats of my city.”
Boxing has always been a sport, known for the huge purses received by its biggest and best athletes. From Floyd Mayweather to Lennox Lewis, boxers throughout the years have earned unthinkable sums of money, plenty enough to retire young.
However, only around 1% of professional boxers earn enough to retire for good. As a result, a lot of boxers are beginning to include a second career alongside boxing.
Nathan is no different. Teaching sports four days a week at Stafford College allows him to earn a guaranteed wage, whilst still training and fighting on the side:
“I turned pro at 28 because I thought if I don’t do it now I’m not going to and I’ll regret it. I still teach now. I don’t teach full time cos I have one day a week off on Wednesday. My teaching and training can overlap a little bit. I’ve always been interested in sport my whole life so with this role I was able to tie the two together.
“Even after I retire I’ll continue to be a teacher. Everyone needs a career to fall back on and so when I’m done, I’ll continue teaching sport.”
Despite starting at a young age, Heaney’s didn’t turn pro until his late twenties. It’s not stopping him from dreaming of glory though:
“I’ve been boxing since the age of 11. I got into it from my Dad who was an amateur boxer himself. I boxed competitively from the age of 11 up until I retired at the age of 26. I had 90 fights and won 58 so my record’s not too bad.
“Then my daughter was born at 26 and I retired until I turned professional at the age of 28. I knew that if I didn’t take the chance of turning professional I would regret it. I’ve still got another two to three years of performance left in me. If I can get the right fights made, the ideal scenario would be to cut my work at the school down a little bit so I can focus more on the boxing side.
It’s been plain sailing so far in his as yet undefeated career. Heaney improved his record to 10-0 earlier this month by beating Christian Schembri by unanimous decision and claiming the vacant International Boxing Organization Continental super-middleweight title in front of a sold out crowd in Stoke.
Sadly with the ongoing situation sweeping the planet, it might be the last weekend of action for quite sometime. But when we do get back to something like normality, Heaney will be looking to push himself nearer to the major titles that surely await.