Nathan Heaney eyeing middleweight world title fight against Janibek Alimkhanuly

By Sports Desk November 24, 2023

Nathan Heaney has eyed a middleweight world title fight against Janibek Alimkhanuly after his majority decision victory over Denzel Bentley in Manchester.

The 18-0-0 Heaney became British middleweight champion on Saturday after an expert performance against London’s Bentley.

The Stoke supporter believes last week’s victory makes a future fight at bet365 Stadium more of a reality and set his sights on Alimkhanuly’s WBO and IBF belts.

“Frank (Warren) said the winner (Bentley or Heaney) fights for a world title and I think there’s no reason why I can’t fight Janibek (Alimkhanuly) and do my best,” Heaney told the PA news agency.

“Bentley did a very good job against Alimkhanuly himself (unanimous points defeat).

“Styles make fights and that could be a very exciting thing to happen.

“I want any of the world titles. Janibek has two world titles and so he’d be the best one to fight because you can get two birds with one stone there providing I can beat him.

“It lays the foundation to fulfil my dream which is to fight at Stoke City’s football ground.”

Bentley struggled to deal with the elusive Heaney, who showed signs of brilliance.

The undefeated Stoke fighter claimed he “played” with Bentley for 12 rounds and said the victory was emotional.

“Watching the fight back at times I was playing with one of the most dangerous middleweights in the division,” he added.

“He laid out his last title defence in 45 seconds but I’m in there with my hands on my thighs and I’m doing a little shoulder shimmy.

“Steve (Woodvine) told me exactly how to beat Denzel Bentley.

“In the first round I was moving my feet and I thought ‘he can’t close me down’. The plan Steve had set out for me was absolutely perfect.

“It must have been disheartening for him (Bentley) to be told before he’s going to knock me out and then not be able to land a shot on me.

“It was full of emotion. Some fighters online after I boxed behind closed doors said I’ll never get beyond area level.”

Heaney insisted the win was no surprise to him and that it was the best performance of his career.

He said: “It definitely didn’t surprise me (winning) but it did everyone else. It made the win even better because no-one expected it from me.

“Everything was flowing because I was enjoying it so much.

“It’s probably my best performance in terms of how I applied myself and the level of opposition.

“But there’s still lots of areas I could have improved on.

“When they announced me as the new British middleweight champion it gave me validation that I am a good fighter.”

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