STOKE MIDDLEWEIGHT FAVOURITE Nathan Heaney probably beat himself up far more than his opponent Diego Ramirez managed to last time out in Telford.

The IBO International champion was particularly down on himself after recording a points victory over the dangerous Argentinean, especially after being put to the canvas near the end of the first round.

What perhaps Heaney didn’t give himself credit for at the time was the shock of the knockdown removed any cavalier attitude from his approach and ensured that he saw out the fight in a disciplined and convincing fashion.

It was only looking back on his 15th straight win as a professional that the 33-year-old afforded himself a very small pat on the back for his night’s work.

“To be fair and on reflection, from watching it back it was actually a better performance than I felt while I was in there boxing,” reflected Heaney, who returns to action at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2. “Obviously I got dropped in the first round, but I pretty much controlled him after that.

“I stayed disciplined and he was a good opponent. We knew he stopped Bradley Skeete and, although it was at a lower weight, Bradley Skeete is Bradley Skeete and was a top operator – and it looked like he was going to do the same thing for a split second!

“To be fair, my arse didn’t touch the ground,” Heaney recalled. “My immediate thought was ‘sh*t’ and normally you would take a count but because it was such a flash knockdown I recovered immediately. I even touched his glove at the end of the round just to let him know I was fine. And to show respect to him because it was a great shot.

“My senses were back straight away, I didn’t know what shot he got me with, although I assumed it was the backhand because that was the only one he was winging in. He was quite fast and sharp to be honest.”

Heaney will be responsible for something of a Stoke exodus to London next time out when his loyal following will be able to take in the sights around Wembley before he steps into the ring with tough Frenchman Nizar Trimech.

“There have been 500 people who have bought tickets so far, which is incredible really, with it being three hours away from Stoke. It is not a short affair and most people will stay in hotels, so it is good.

“A lot of fighters can’t sell 500 in their own city, let alone three hours away, so it is amazing what they are doing. They do follow me wherever.”

And Heaney warns not to underestimate the perils presented by Trimech, who carries a misleading record of 9-3-2. Look beneath the surface and there are some credible results on the card of the 29-year-old.

“He is very good and is ranked as No.2 middleweight in France and 62 in the world, one place behind me. He is a former WSB fighter and I think he was undefeated in that.

“He has been there and done it, he got two draws, one against the fella who boxed Golovkin and Munguia (Kamil Szeremeta) and the last one he fought was the Swiss 15-0 kid (Ramadan Hiseni). He lost his second last one (Pavel Silyagin), but that was against a big super middleweight from Russia, so he just bit off a bit more than he could chew on that one.

“The fact of the matter is, if you look at his record, it doesn’t suggest how good he is, it really doesn’t. People might look at it and think ‘Nathan will smash him to bits’, but he is better than that and I’ve got to give him the respect.

“The French guys are very tough fighters.”

Tickets for ‘High Stakes’ at the OVO Arena, Wembley on Saturday 2 July are on sale now priced from £55 and available from AXS.com and Ticketmaster.co.uk.

‘High Stakes’ on Saturday, 2 July at the OVO Arena also includes leading heavyweight contender Joe Joyce taking on Christian Hammer for the WBO International and WBC Silver titles. The highly anticipated super bantamweight collision between European champion Jason Cunningham and two-weight world champion Zolani Tete is also on the bill.

Callum Johnson fights Igor Mikhalkin for the WBC Silver light heavyweight title and  Mark Chamberlain will fight Marc Videl with the IBF European lightweight title at stake.

Wycombe super lightweight Henry Turner and Bexley welterweight Micky Burke jr will fight over six rounds, with Ashford cruiserweight Arnold Obidai having his second pro fight over four. Thetford cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will make his professional debut in a four-round fight having recently signed to Frank Warren and Queensberry.

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