The showmanship that comes with large-scale boxing is never more present than when a fighter walks into the ring.
And in Britain we do it better than most. In recent years, Tyson Fury has dressed up as a Spartan warrior and been carried to a throne to the sound of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and Anthony Joshua has entered the arena with a load of pyrotechnics. Let’s also not forget the ultimate showman in Prince Naseem and his magic carpet.
In smaller venues, however, the entertainment is usually more focused on the action inside the ropes, with walks in the ring merely serving the functional purpose of bringing the boxer from the locker room into the fight.
Unless you’re Nathan Heaney.
The 33-year-old is an undefeated and pre-pandemic middleweight boxer, was relatively unknown outside of his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent.
That was until a video went viral of his loyal fan base serenading him, to the tune of Welsh superstar Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’, as he walked to the King’s ring Hall in his hometown.
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 at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena against Konstantin Aleksandrov and Sladan Janjanin in August and November respectively and stealing the show, even though he was not the lead. poster.
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The 1968 hit has been sung about by Stoke fans for at least 30 years and it seems even Heaney himself can’t quite fathom the extent of his support.
Speaking after his win over Ilyan Markov in June 2021. “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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