Let’s face it, he’d won before he got in the ring.
This is the brilliant walk out at a packed King’s Hall from Nathan Heaney on his way to beating Christian Schembri by unanimous decision and claiming the vacant International Boxing Organization Continental Super Middle title last night.
The Hitman stepped out as Stoke City anthem Delilah was belted out through the venue – and Stoke flags hung from everywhere possible.
Even Schembri, in the background already in the ring, can be seen joining in.
Videos of the entrance, filmed from various angles, have gone viral on social media – and gone down a storm with boxing fans.
Alex Brown said: “I can’t think of a boxer who has a better entrance than this! Incredible entrance, and with 1300+ Stokies supporting him, the atmosphere is always going to be electric.”
Eat Sleep Boxing Repeat Tweeted: “This has to be THE BEST atmosphere and support for a fighter on a small hall show in the UK right now!
“If you can build up this kind of following like Nathan Heaney has with the performances to match in the ring then you can go far.”
Vanda Gibbons said: “Congratulations Nathan Heaney on winning the IBO Continental Championship. Bringing it home for Stoke. You were spectacular.”
Even Port Vale fan Pete Stonier said: “Great night’s boxing at the King’s Hall, Stoke where Nathan Heaney was crowned IBO Continental Middleweight Champion in front of a loud, local crowd.”
Nathan Heaney crowned champion
It all means that Heaney continues his rise in the boxing world.
The former pupil of St Thomas More Catholic Academy, Longton, once dreamed of being a professional footballer for Stoke, but realised his talents were far better suited to a boxing ring.
As an amateur, he had 90 fights, winning 58. But despite defeating a number of internationals, he decided to hang up his gloves and qualified as a teacher. He started working full-time at Stafford College, teaching sport.
But at the age of 27 he returned to boxing – signing with Black Country Boxing Promotions and turning professional. Heaney, who lives in Trentham, has now chalked up 10 successive wins, including two by knockout.
Since his debut at Walsall in 2017, his support has grown phenomenally.
The 30-year-old previously told StokeonTrentLive: “As an amateur, you don’t have music and I never took a big crowd, just my family. Delilah was the only song I wanted for my walk-on.
“On my debut at Walsall, I took 60 people with me and they were amazing. I came out to Delilah and I had visions in my head of what it would be like, but it was a bit awkward. I didn’t know how to play the crowd.
“But (when I went to) the King’s Hall, I had 400 people on my team and there were probably 700 people there. It was very close to what I had first imagined. My vision was just full of Stoke flags and, as soon as I came out, the flags were waving. I loved it.”
So does everyone else.