Heaney (18-0, 6 KOs) will make the first defense of his Lonsdale belt against Brad Pauls in Birmingham on March 16. Although not confirmed, the 12-round bout is expected to headline Queensberry Promotions’ ‘The Magnificent Seven Ride Again’ card.
The 34-year-old, who fights out of Stoke-on-Trent, scored a huge upset in his last fight, a majority decision win over Denzel Bentley, who was the favorite going into the clash. Despite the conclusive nature of the victory, Heaney isn’t getting too carried away with himself. He knows he needs to keep winning if he wants to achieve his dream of fighting for a world title at the bet365 Stadium, home of his beloved Stoke City, which is why he isn’t underestimating Pauls. “I’ve got to win this fight,” Heaney told themusicboxingmachine.com. “Frank Warren has said if I win this fight I’ll get the stadium fight next. So that’s all that matters to me. “Brad Pauls is a good fighter. You only have to see what happened in my last fight. If you underestimate someone they can perform out of their skin on the night. “That was my best performance, but I’ve still got plenty more to come. There’s still improvements there to be made.
“He fought Tyler Denny before, I spar with Tyler quite a bit, but it’s pointless asking Tyler for advice because he’s a southpaw. What worked for Tyler is completely different to what I’ll be doing. There’s so many different variables to it.” The fighting pride of Stoke, Heaney has built up a big following over the years. It’s a special relationship between a fighter and his supporters, something which he doesn’t take for granted. Heaney’s promoter Frank Warren claims his fighter is the biggest ticket seller in British boxing since Ricky Hatton, but while he politely refuses to accept such a label, he admits that he dreams of competing under the bright lights of Las Vegas. “I’d certainly love that,” he said. “Ricky Hatton was a phenom. “What happened there was something that may never happen again. 20,000 people in Vegas… It’s just incredible how it happened to be honest.
“If I could take a few hundred over there I would be delighted. It would be amazing. You never know what could happen in the future. “I’d never rule it out. It would be some atmosphere. Imagine all them Stokies on the Strip.” At a recent press conference, Heaney floated the idea of a fight with Chris Eubank Jr if he doesn’t get a world title shot next. From his point of view, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Whether Eubank Jr, who gained revenge over Liam Smith in their rematch last year, would entertain the proposition is another matter entirely. Still, there’s no harm in trying. “It’s mutually beneficial for the both of us,” Heaney said of Eubank Jr.
“We’d both be doing each other a favor. The Conor Benn fight is dead in the water, Benn tested positive or whatever, there’s no one else out there for him. Where is Eubank going really? “He’s someone I would like to fight. I’m easy pickings for him ‘on paper’. If he wants it he can have it. “I think he’d relish being the villain. But I do believe I’d do okay in that fight. I don’t know how he’d cope with 20,000 Stokies against him.”