Nathan Heaney is expecting a tougher test than he originally planned after a late change of opponent ahead of his Midlands Area Title showdown in Stoke tomorrow evening.
Heaney was slated to take on Ryan Aston for the strap but, after the Dudley man pulled out, West Bromwich’s Tom Stokes answered the call.
Stokes knows all about the area crown having lost to former Champion, Tyler Denny, last year. Heaney knows all about Stokes too and is expecting a hard night’s work whilst remaining in confident mood.
‘The change of an opponent is an expected part this game” Heaney told bcb-promotions.com. “I was disappointed; mainly due to the fact that when my original opponent accepted I thought to myself ‘I reckon this lad will pull out as it gets closer to’ and I was right.
“But, I now have a tougher opponent in the form of Tom Stokes, who has fought for the title before. It is set to be a fantastic night. Styles make fights and I have no doubt ours will be an exciting one to watch. The atmosphere is going to be electric and I can’t wait!”
The pair weigh-in at King’s Hall, Stoke, today at 2.00pm ahead of tomorrow night’s showdown at the same venue.
Tickets, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with a buffet and waitress service, are on sale now. It will be £40 for entry on the door.
Stokes determined To Take Chance
Tom Stokes will be determined to make the most of an unexpected second chance at the Midlands middleweight title tomorrow evening. He has been called up to co-challenge with Nathan Heaney for the vacant crown, which has been relinquished by Tyler Denny.
It was Denny who outpointed Stokes in September 2017 to claim the strap, which he never ended up defending. Hometown hero Heaney was due to take on Ryan Aston, who has pulled out. They were set to headline BCB Promotions’ show at King’s Hall, in Stoke-on-Trent, on Friday June 21.
Stokes, from West Bromwich, will now step in and take Aston’s place in the main event, with unbeaten Heaney standing between him and glory. Heaney is Stoke born and bred and has raced to 6-0, with two stoppages, the last success coming over former Gennady Golovkin opponent Daniel Urbanski over eight rounds. Stokes is also on the back of a win, though, and was already due to feature on the King’s Hall card in a keep-busy contest.
It will come 27 days after Stokes beat Chris Blaney, one of Ricky Hatton’s proteges, on points when they were a part of the BCB show at the Deco in Northampton. He became only the second man to beat Blaney, who has been lined up for a shot at the Irish title, in outpointing him by a round, recording a 58-57 result. Pro fight No 13 certainly wasn’t unlucky for Stokes, who improved his ledger to 11 victories with two in a row since back-to-back disappointments. He racked up eight points successes and a maiden TKO, over Paul Hilz, before defeats to Denny and Nicky Jenman, the latter his only stoppage loss. He’s rebuilt by vanquishing Lewis van Poetsch and Blaney on points and has now been handed a golden opportunity at the top of the bill.
Stokes said: “I was over the moon with my last win, I got a text with two weeks notice asking if I fancied it and I’d seen Blaney box before.
“It looked like a good 50-50, on paper, and it turned out to be close, so it was nice to have something go my way. I had nothing to lose, so I went for it and the gamble paid off. It was a bit scrappy, he was trying to be awkward and tie me up. I think he was trying to get his own shots off and then smother my work, but I kept going and felt like I deserved to get it.
“I’d seen him gas, in what I’d watched, so I was pretty confident that I could outwork him, even though I was only about 80 per cent fit. I had a couple of days off, after the fight, and then I was straight back on it. I’ll be 100 per cent by the time I get to Stoke and I want to take this shot with both hands.”
Nathan Heaney Prepared For Shoot Out
Nathan Heaney is prepared to get into a shoot-out with Ryan Aston to decide who becomes the Midlands middleweight champion.
The hometown hero will co-challenge with Aston for the vacant area crown, which is up for grabs after being vacated by Tyler Denny.
Unbeaten Heaney will also defend his ‘0’ against the strong southpaw, who is from Dudley. They headline BCB Promotions’ show at King’s Hall, in Stoke-on-Trent, on Friday June 21.
Heaney definitely concedes pro experience to his rival, but did have a lengthy amateur career with South Staffs Boxing Club, where he took part in 90 bouts.
Aston was a decorated himself and boxed for England, before turning over and racking up 27 outings, with 20 wins and eight TKOs.
But he’s also failed in three attempts to claim a Midlands title and in trying to claim an IBF International bauble. His last action saw him shockingly lose to Anthony Fox on points.
The 27-year-old also has two draws on a storied paid ledger, but possesses power that cannot be written off.
Heaney agrees with this adage but has shown strength in his own six contests, all wins with two stoppages already in the bag.
‘The Hitman’ wiped out Sean Gorman and Martin Kabrhel, the latter inside and round, and has racked up the rounds in his other outings.
He’s never lost a round in any of the four points successes recorded and is on the back of an eight-round victory over Daniel Urbanski, who once shared a ring with Gennady Golovkin.
Heaney, the older man at age 30, feels like he’s on the rise and is determined to prove it by getting his hand raised on his own turf.
He said: “It’s a good match up, Ryan was a wicked amateur and, despite his losses, has plenty of wins and experience as a pro. I’ve got a lot of respect for the fighter he is.
“It feels like the new boy versus the veteran – and he’s younger than me! I need to prove that I’m on the lad that’s on the way up.
“The way I look at it, he’s had his setbacks and he’s been out for a year, but he might be rejuvenated after a break.
“There will still be hunger in him and he’ll be coming to win. Some people think this is too soon for me, that he’s been in the game for too long, but I’ll be ready.
“It’ll be interesting to see what he’s like on the night, but I’m expecting the best Ryan Aston. He won’t be complacent against me.
“I think it will be a great fight, as soon as it was mentioned to me I was like ‘I’ll have some of that.’ I need to step up and this is my chance.
“I don’t believe he’s shot but I’m confident that, if I do the right things, I’ll beat him. He’s strong, but what is he going to do if he gets caught?
“I’ve got a half decent engine and I can bang myself. I’ve stopped two out of six opponents, as a pro. I know what I can do.
“I don’t feel under pressure, I love that this in Stoke and at King’s Hall which, for me, is the best boxing venue in the Midlands.
“I’ll have all the ‘Stokeys’ in my corner and he’ll have his lot with him, so the atmosphere is going to be mad. I’ve got a great following.
“This is a good little platform to work from and it could put me on the map. If I can win the Midlands title, I’m only going to grow.”
Five supporting acts will precede the title fight and occupy the home corner.
Luke Caci, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, is another product of the Orme gym in action and is unbeaten himself, with seven points successes.
The 29-year-old is maneuvering his way down to the super middleweight division, having boxed mostly at light heavy so far.
Former Midlands welterweight champion Rob Hunt hails from Stafford and will be undertaking his 33rd bout, at 33 years old.
Hunt, who has been a pro for 13 years, recorded his 25th and last victory under the King’s Hall lights, outpointing Ryan ‘Stewart’ Davies for British Challenge honours.
Tom Stokes has previously challenged for the area crown at middleweight. The 24-year-old, from West Bromwich, is in double figures for wins having turned over at the age of just 19.
Liam Davies, from Donnington in Telford, is another hopeful making his way as a pro after success in the unpaid ranks.
The super bantamweight, 23, has already secured three wins, with his maiden TKO last time out with an impressive second round stoppage of Pablo Narvaez.
It came after two spotless points results in his favour, easing past Georgian Khvicha Gigolashvili by whitewash before bashing around Bulgaria’s Stefan Slavchev.
The son of former Midlands champion Tristan Davies previously racked up 100 amateur contests for his father’s Donnington Boxing Club and boxed for England.
Lauren Johnson, who hails from Willenhall near Wolverhampton, will lace on the gloves for the first time in a year and is going up a weight to super welter.
‘The Black Widow,’ 34, returns after claiming the eight-round British Challenge strap in her previous outing, by making it a hat-trick of paid points successes.
Tickets, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with a buffet and waitress service, are on sale now. It will be £40 for entry on the door. For more information, contact the boxers.