With his opponent now confirmed, Stoke favourite Nathan Heaney, is set to fill another arena ahead of his forthcoming IBO Continental Title fight.
The 30-year-old will fight on home soil at King’s Hall next month for the vacant IBO title and has already sold an impressive 750 tickets as his fellow “Stokies” flock to back his corner.
Heaney is used to having excellent support and proved that in his last fight at the Birmingham Arena where his fans were in large numbers and fine voice even surpassing the support for higher billed fighters.
He will have an army of supporters willing him on against Malta’s Christan Schembri in what will be his 100th fight as an amateur and professional. 27 year-old Schembri, with 17 wins from 24 contests, is Heaney’s toughest to date and on the ‘Hitman’ is certainly not overlooking.
“Schembri is a dangerous fighter,” Heaney told bcb-promotions.com. “I’m fighting for the IBO Continental title so I expected nothing less, but from what I have seen he has a good work rate, is ambitious and online he really fancies his chances in taking the title.
“All I know is he will be bringing it to me, and I’ll be bringing it to him, along with a thousand Stokies bringing taking the roof off of the King’s Hall. The place will be electric!
“My fans make me feel like a champion already they are behind me. I’ve heard it said that I have more support than some world class fighters and with this next bout being in my home town I’m really happy with the amount of people that will be making noise there.
“In my 100th competitive fight, 90 as an amateur and 10 as a professional, I couldn’t think of a better way to mark up that century with a major title! It’s Heaney versus Schmebri and only one of us comes out as the winner. Let’s see who wants it the most.”
The sports lecturer – who when not in the ring teaches at Stafford College – has been busy sparring with Zach Parker and Ricky Summers as he counts down the days to his next fight – on March 13.
“Due to the amount of negotiations that have to go on with a title of this level, it can be frustrating not to have a face to focus on when I’m putting the graft in but now I have one, I know the task in front of me.
“I’ve been desperate to fight for a title for a while now and winning this IBO belt sets me up perfectly for my future path.
“I want belts and titles and I want to be a champion for the city. I have the support now it’s up to me to step into the ring and make it happen.”
Three more paid pugilists from Orme Boxing Club feature, as part of the supporting cast, with Cole Johnson and Atal Khan set to occupy the home corner.
Johnson is another part of the lightweight division and has notched five points successes so far, having taken every round along the way.
Simas Volosinas, Reynaldo Cajina, Dean Evans, Ibrar Riyaz and Dean Jones have been vanquished by Johnson, who is in his third year as a pro.
He previously became a national titleist as an amateur, claiming England Senior Development honours in 2017, as a graduate of Orme Boxing Club.
Southpaw Khan is a super lightweight who has his hand raised twice so far, as a pro, remaining unbeaten with no rounds lost going toe-to-toe with Riyaz and Matt ‘MJ’ Hall.
He got his amateur grounding with the Impact Boxing and later Orme gyms, racking up 28 victories from 42 unpaid contests.
Luke Caci is another product of the Orme fight factory, who will reach double figures when he steps through the ropes for a 10th time in the pro code.
The super middleweight, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, is still undefeated with nine wins and one TKO, halting Bryn Wain in the fifth of six rounds.
Stoke’s Kieron McLaren also features. ‘Gunner’ has racked up 12 victories from 14 pro affairs, before taking on Lee Appleyard, who he pushed to a 95-95 draw after 10 rounds.
His one and only defeat then came to Maxi Hughes, in what was an eliminator for English lightweight honours, by fourth round stoppage.
Making the trip from across the Midlands are Connor Parker and Leon Gower, who are from Woodville in Derbyshire and Burton-on-Trent respectively.
Parker is looking to bounce back from a first pro defeat, with Sam Maxwell taking his ‘0’ through a seventh round stoppage for the WBO European super lightweight bauble.
He can redress the balance with a 13th pro success, the most notable of which saw him become Midlands champion at the expense of Kevin Hooper.
The left-hander upset the odds to force the retirement of the experienced Hooper, a former Midlands and English titleist, at the end of the fifth round during their 2018 meeting.
Gower came up short in his attempt at area glory that year with his nemesis, Brad Foster, going on to win British and Commonwealth super bantamweight belts.
He now returns, after missing all of 2019, with a desire to quickly build upon his six wins, with three TKOs already in the bag.
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, or call the BCB Box Office on 07493 582 261.
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