Heaney and Pauls battle to grueling draw, Joyce returns with win: Highlights


Nathan Heaney retained his British middleweight title in a split draw with Brad Pauls tonight in Birmingham, England, with the two warriors putting on an outstanding, grueling fight that represented the best of what British title fights can be.

Heaney (18-0-1, 6 KO) got one card of 116-113 in his favor, and another went to Pauls (18-1-1, 10 KO) on a 115-114 score. The final card was even, 114-114. All scores were reasonable.

Bad Left Hook unofficially scored the bout 115-113 for Heaney.

Heaney, 34, was making the first defense of the belt he won last year from Denzel Bentley, and had his loud fan base backing his play and making the fight even better in Birmingham. But it was never easy against the determined Pauls, 30, and both men were bloodied and beaten up by the end of the dramatic 12 round clash.

It seems like a good idea to run it back in a rematch this summer, when Heaney is hoping to have an outdoors fight in his native Stoke.

In the chief support bout, rising super bantamweight contender Liam Davies continued his highly entertaining run toward a world title fight with a second round TKO win over Erik Robles.

Davies (16-0, 8 KO) won the lightly-regarded IBO “world title” with this victory, but it’s really no secret that he’ll be looking to go after one of the other titles. The division is currently ruled, of course, by undisputed champion Naoya Inoue, which is an undisputed claim because nobody considers the IBO a dispute. But Davies is a real contender at 122 and he’s damn fun to watch.

Heavyweight Joe Joyce returned and looked iffy, but got a final round knockout win over Kash Ali with seven seconds left in the fight. Ali (21-3, 12 KO) did get up, but right at nine, and referee Kevin Parker called the fight and declared he’d reached the count of 10.

It really was not an encouraging showing for the 38-year-old Joyce (16-2, 15 KO), who weighed in at a career-high of 286 lbs and looked slow and robotic even for him. He was returning from two straight losses to Zhilei Zhang.

Dennis McCann retained the Commonwealth super bantamweight title and added the previously vacant British title with a clear unanimous decision win over Brad Strand. Scores were 116-112, 116-111, and 118-111 for McCann (15-0-1, 8 KO), who seemed to believe perhaps he’d won every round.

Bad Left Hook had it 117-110 for McCann, giving Strand (11-1, 3 KO) the final two rounds, which McCann cruised through while the underdog gave it his best and landed some shots. Strand wasn’t close to winning at any point, and was dropped in round two.

More results

  • Zach Parker UD-10 Tyron Zeuge (96-94, 97-92, 98-91)
  • Owen Cooper RTD-9 Eithan James (3:00)
  • Pierce O’Leary KO-9 Hovhannes Martirosyan (2:39)

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