Bigger & Better To Come Promises Nathan Heaney

Bigger & Better To Come Promises Nathan Heaney

Nathan Heaney reckons his fight nights will only get “bigger and better” as the fan favourite undertakes his next title test.

His next 10-round opportunity will come at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham, as part of a BT Sport televised offering, on Saturday November 6.

It’s a second IBO bauble that could be coming his way, having previously won the organisation’s Continental super middleweight strap last year.

This time, the IBO International crown will be on the line in Heaney’s favoured division of middleweight, under Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions banner.

The unbeaten 32-year-old will have to go through Sladan Janjanin, a big-punching Bosnian with 30 wins and 24 KOs on his pro record.

Heaney made it 13-0 in August, taking out Konstantin Alexandrov in the fifth to make it back-to-back stoppages, after previously dismantling Illiyan Markov inside three rounds.

Now comes a third ring outing of 2021 for ‘the Hitman,’ which started when he floored Ryan Oliver on route to a wide points victory. All three came on Warren’s shows.

That first IBO title came with another points success over Christian Schembri in March 2020, the last time he boxed at the Kings Hall in his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent.

Heaney’s legion of supporters have followed him around the country and are growing in numbers, which has created quite the atmosphere when he’s in action.

The venues have been electrified by his increasingly famous ring walk, where the Stoke City fanatic emerges to the strains of the club’s anthem, Tom Jones’ hit ‘Deliah.’

There will be more than 1,600 supporters joining in on this occasion, with former Midlands champion Heaney becoming a father again since last time.

Five-year-old daughter Ava has been joined by baby sister Isabella, who came into the world on September 24. It’s his second child with fiance Louise.

Heaney said: “I was supposed to box in Birmingham last month (October 9), but it was too close to my daughter being born, although I’ve been certainly been kept on my toes.

“The day she was born, I finished work and became a full-time fighter. I’ve got some great sponsors, who have allowed me to put my all into boxing.

“I was a sports lecturer (at Stafford College), but now I’ve got the perfect mix of family life and training, plus I can go around the country sparring.

“I love my kids and my wife-to-be is very supportive of what I’m doing. I’ve always boxed, ever since I met her, and that was 10 years ago.

“When I turned pro, I told her ‘give me three years and, if I’m going nowhere, I’ll retire.’ Two-and-a-half years in, I got signed by Frank Warren!

“I’ve got two more years with Errol (Johnson, manager), too, and I’ll be staying with him until I retire. With Steve (Woodvine, coach), as well, I couldn’t be more delighted with my team.

“I’m a proper middleweight. I know I’ve won an IBF title at super middle, but that was only ever going to be for one fight. I want another one of those nice-looking belts.

“I know I’ve got a tough opponent. On paper, he can punch, with those wild shots that he throws, and he’s durable. Put him down, he’ll pick himself and get back at it.

“He’s game, so I’m going to have to bust him up and break him down. I’m confident I’ll get the job done, but I do respect him, even after what I’ve seen on social media.

“He tagged me in a post on Instagram, saying he was going to retire me, so let’s see what happens when we get in the ring on the night.

“I think I showed some of what I can do last time. The guy was a last-minute replacement, but he hadn’t been stopped in two years, so it was a good result to get him in the fifth.

“We’ve had some great nights already, but I think they are going to get bigger and better. There were 1,600 fans at the last time and I’m on track for beating that.

“There seems to be new people coming along every time, so there’s momentum there and I have to keep it going, until I can get to the limit.

“It might sound far-fetched, but it would be the ultimate to do something major in Stoke at the football ground. To fight for the British title, there, would be a dream come true.”

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