Nathan Hitman Heaney is the middleweight champion of Great Britain after beating Denzel Bentley in a historic night at the AO Arena in Manchester.
Headlining the Queensbury Promotions event in front of thousands of travelling fans, the 34-year-old put on the performance of his life out boxing the classy Bentley over twelve rounds, taking a majority points decision.
The bookmakers heavily favoured the champion who was 1/7 odds on as the two men made their way to the ring well after 11pm. You could forgive them for thinking this, he had the greater experience having challenged for the WBO world title and holding wins over quality operators Linus Udofia and Mark Heffron.
Bentley the WBA Continental belt holder was unbeaten, but this was on paper a massive step up in levels and his army of ‘Stokies’ in the crowd who sang Tom Jones- Delilah at the top of their lungs knew their man was in potentially for a very tough night.
Heaney got the better of the early exchanges with his jab finding home consistently in the opening round, he used his height well and Bentley seemed cautious looking for single shots rather than trying to land anything in flurries.
The third round was a little scrappy as neither man landed anything clear but the fourth saw both men land power punches with Heaney taking a warning for punches behind the head. At the halfway point the challenger was well ahead, and the upset looked very much on the cards.
Heaneys coach Steve Woodvine warned him that Bentley would start to get desperate looking for the knockout and that prediction came true as the Londoner tried to step up the pace, but he was matched punch for punch and as they headed to the championship rounds it was the Stoke mans to lose.
Both traded some vicious blows down the stretch but as the bell rang for the end of the 12th the vast majority in attendance knew the belt would soon be changing hands. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-113 and 117-111 a jubilant Heaney was lifted in the air, the dream had become reality.
Image Queensbury Promotions