Nathan Heaney (18-0-1, 6KOs) retained his British middleweight title in Birmingham against Brad Pauls (18-0-1, 10KOs), but not in the circumstances the title holder had hoped for. 

Heaney and Paul played their parts in a thrilling bout that headlined promoter Frank Warren’s latest edition of the Magnificent Seven series. Seven title fights shared the billing at the Resorts Arena, topped by the British middleweight encounter between Heaney and Pauls. The duo fought to a split draw with one scorecard of 114-114 alongside totals of 115-114 in favor of Pauls and 116-113 for Heaney.

In November 2023, Heaney caused a domestic upset at the Manchester Arena with an inspired performance against then-holder of the British title and former world title challenger Denzel Bentley, upsetting the bookmakers to claim the converted 160lbs title courtesy of a majority decision. 

Pauls, the current English champion, produced a performance that certainly did not reflect perceptions leading into the contest. He demonstrated that he belonged in the ring with Heaney and arguably, like Heaney, claimed to have done enough to win the Lonsdale Belt. 

Speaking post-fight to reporters, Heaney felt he had done enough to win but admitted it was close due to his inability to keep Pauls at bay.

“I let him [Pauls] come in way too close to me and he caught me with some good shots, and in two of the rounds, he caught me real good,” admitted Heaney. 

“I do feel that I won the fight, but it was still a very close fight. I don’t think I lost that because, in the first six or seven rounds, I was boxing lovely and not getting caught by anything. I did what my trainer told me not to do – dropping my hands and getting caught with some really silly shots.”

Heaney praised Pauls despite his maintaining that he should have won the contest.

“I knew already that he could punch, but he impressed me with how he caught me by slipping my shots over the top of my own, which I don’t get caught with,” Heaney added.

“He was excellent, and that’s why British title fights are so good. It brings something out of the lads who fight for the title like it did with me in my last fight.”  

Heaney now hopes to fight in the summer and will meet with promoter Warren in the next week to discuss his next steps. 

“I would like to fight in the summer,” Heaney concluded. “Frank [Warren] has said we need to speak next week. So I will speak with Frank and see what the deal is.”