NATHAN HEANEY REPORTS that his dashing good looks are still intact with his facial features having survived a brush with the dome of Jack Flatley back in September.
Heaney and Flatley were approaching the midway point of a fascinating title fight at the Manchester Arena when battle was halted after Heaney was sliced open above the right eye following a heavy clash of heads.
The fight was stopped on medical advice by referee Steve Gray and Stoke favourite Heaney was judged to be leading on all three cards, therefore retaining his IBO International middleweight title.
The Stoke vs Bolton rivalry will now resume at the Telford International Centre on March 25 when the pair will rematch with the WBA Continental title on the line.
Despite the severity of the wound, Heaney reveals that the fight night doctor adopted a less is more approach when it came to sewing up the gash.
“To be fair it actually healed, superficially, in about a week,” said the 33-year-old ‘Hitman’. “It was dead weird, it was like it never happened a week later. But, I didn’t get punched on it for at least eight weeks after, when I started sparring again.
“Now it is bang-on.
“He literally put four stitches in and I thought ‘is that it?’ for like a cut of that size. So he put four in and two of them fell out two days later!
“When I saw the surgeon in Stoke, he said the doctor at the fight did great because the less stitches you have, the less tight it is in the seal. If it is too tight, basically the skin dies in the seal where the pressure is too much and it doesn’t heal as well.
“So I was buzzing with that, really,” continued Heaney, who has recently sat down to assess his abbreviated night’s work in Manchester.
“I actually watched it back the other day because I hadn’t watched it for ages. The way I felt the fight was going was I was in complete control and I was picking the pace up going into round five.
“Even the round where the commentators had him winning, if I was being very generous, I’d give it a 10-10. I still thought I was winning it when I watched it back.
“He caught me with a right hand in round three, but just because he caught me with a shot doesn’t mean he was winning it, he just did better than he did in the first two when I was jabbing him.
“The way I saw it, I was controlling all the rounds and then picking the pace up. That is why I was moving more and throwing more combinations, which is what led to the head clash coming because he lunged in while I was moving in and out.
“That is how I felt it was going,” concluded Heaney, who went on to answer whether he feels the sequel will follow a similar pattern.
“I would imagine he has to start at a fast pace, but that is a double edged sword because it is a 10-round fight. Unless he believes he can go in there and stop me within the first five rounds… I don’t think he has got the power to do that.
“That is the only way he could change it, but if he gets to round five by setting a really high pace he has got another five rounds of me sticking the jab in his face and stuff.
“In the first few rounds you are gauging each other and setting a game plan. It wasn’t a terribly exciting first five rounds first time around and the exciting part would have been in that second half.
“Now we’ve got the chance to do it again with the crowd much closer this time because my guys were in the gods last time. I don’t think he felt the atmosphere like he will at this event because ticket sales have gone amazing, as always.
“It is a much tighter arena and it will be very loud in there.”
Tickets for the Telford show headlined by Heaney vs Flatley 2 and Cain vs Baluta at Telford International Centre on Saturday, 25 March are on sale now from: ticketmaster.co.uk.
NATHAN HEANEY WILL rematch Jack Flatley with the vacant WBA Continental middleweight title at stake and Andrew Cain will defend his WBC International Silver super bantamweight title against Ionut Baluta at the Telford International Centre on Saturday March 25, live on BT Sport.
The night will also see the return of former European super bantamweight champion Jason Cunningham (31-7, 7) to the ring. The Doncaster man will take on Miguel Gonzalez (33-3, 9) of Chile with the vacant WBO International strap at stake.
Heavyweight star of the future Moses Itauma (1-0, 1) will have his second professional fight over four rounds, while Raven Chapman (5-0, 2) will make a first defence of the WBC International featherweight title with The Omen will take on the Czech Lucie Sedlackova.
Also on the card, Liverpool super bantam Brad Strand (9-0, 3) will hit double figures as a pro with an eight-round assignment.
Midlands Area welterweight champion Owen Cooper (7-0, 2) will also be in eight-round action, Telford super lightweight Macaulay Owen (5-0, 1) will fight over six.
Light Heavyweight Ezra Taylor (4-0, 3) and Super Welterweight Ben Fail are both in action over six rounds.
Natty Ngwenya (1-0, 0) has his second pro outing, the first on a Queensberry show, in a four-rounder while Ilkeston super welterweight Jimmy Smith will make his professional debut, also over four.