As boxing fans, we are used to seeing the showmanship that comes with big events and never is that entertainment factor more present than when a fighter walks into the ring.
Whether it’s Tyson Fury performing on a throne to the beat of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas or Anthony Joshua standing between his burning initials at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
In smaller venues, however, the entertainment is usually more focused on the action in the ring, with ring walks merely having the functional purpose of bringing the fighter from the locker room to the ring.
Unless you’re Nathan Heaney.
Heaney is an undefeated middleweight boxer and before the pandemic was relatively unknown outside of his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent.
That was until a video went viral of his loyal fanbase serenading him, to the tune of Welsh superstar Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’, as he walked to the ring at The King’s Hall in Stoke-on-Trent.
The atmosphere was fit to rival some of the biggest sporting events in the country and subsequently Heaney was signed for Frank Warren’s Queensbury promotions to join a strong stable that includes Fury, Anthony Yarde and Joe Joyce among others.
Since then, Heaney has gone from strength to strength providing his growing support for Birmingham’s Utilita Arena and stealing the show, even though he was not the headliner.
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It seems even Heaney himself can’t fathom the extent of his support, as he said after his win over Ilyan Markov last year:
“I don’t even deserve this,” he said. “I’m a good fighter, but this is world class.”
In terms of in-ring form, Heaney is flying after stopping his last three opponents, ahead of his fight with Diego Ramirez on Saturday night.
He will be looking to defend his IBO International middleweight title and with his loyal fans blaring, you wouldn’t bet against him.
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