Nathan Heaney’s travelling army of fans will take over the AO Arena in Manchester this weekend. The Stoke middleweight hand delivers the vast majority of the two thousand or so tickets he routinely sells and has forged personal relationships with many of his supporters. They will make the hour long journey north with that partisan belief that they are travelling to watch their friend coronated as the British middleweight champion.

Heaney (17-0, 6 KO’s) himself can’t afford to get carried away by. Fortunately, the unbeaten 34 year old is well aware of the task he faces in trying to rip the title away from the dangerous Denzel Bentley. Bentley was a blip on Heaney's radar long before the Battersea fighter claimed the British title. 

“On our way through, I always knew about Bentley. Some of the opponents I was fighting in the early days had boxed Bentley. I looked at them and he’d stopped them and I hadn’t. You could look at that and think, ‘I know he’s a tough journeyman and he’s stopped him.’ so I know he’s got that danger power with him. We have to see what happens on the night,” Heaney told 32Red.

Heaney can’t afford to dwell on the danger Bentley possess. Although he lost a decision to WBO champion, Janibek Alumkhanuly, one year ago, the Battersea fighter appears to be rapidly improving and ruthlessly dispatched Keiron Smith inside a minute in his only appearance since. Heaney has been around the sport long enough to know that nothing good comes from concentrating on your opponent's strengths rather than your own and believes he has what it takes to spring the upset and achieve a dream he has had since childhood.

“I just think I’m an overall good boxer. I’ve got a good jab, I control distance well and I’ve been boxing for 23 years. I’ve got experience. I’ve been in with everyone,” he said.

“I’m a big underdog with the bookies and it’s because he’s fought at a higher level. He has failed at a higher level as well. That makes no difference though. You perform how you perform on the night. They were all different opponents that he had. Linus [Udofia, who Bentley beat by split decision for the vacant British title] was a very close fight and one judge had him winning but Bentley’s very good and I know what he can do.”