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18th March 2020

We caught up with local boxing legend and Sports lecturer, Nathan Heaney, to chat about his career as a professional boxer and life as a lecturer here at Stafford College.

Q: Tell us about your boxing career and how you got into it?

I started boxing at the age of nine years old when my Dad (a former amateur boxer himself) got me involved. I took part in my first contest at the age of 11 and boxed every year for 16 years, winning 58 out of 90 contests, whilst picking up Midlands title honours and international medals along the way. At the age of 26, I retired from amateur boxing to focus on my teaching career following the birth of my daughter. Then when I was 28 I was offered a contract with BCB Promotions and I decided to take it back up again professionally. I knew that if I didn’t, it would be a huge regret. In my two years as a professional boxer, I have had ten fights and remained undefeated in all of them. Along the way, I became the first Midlands Champion from Stoke-on-Trent at middleweight, boxed on BT Sport, and most recently became the first fighter in history to win an IBO title (IBO Continental champion) for Stoke.

Q: How do you balance your sporting commitments with your work?

It can be tough, but it's just making sure stay on top of things is the most important thing. It's just the rough and the smooth of the job, but I've got a great team around me and my manager at the College has always been very supportive. What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them? I've had a few, but it's just a matter of biting down and cracking on with what needs to be done. I've had broken hands in the lead up to title fights, the logistical nightmare of personally hand-delivering thousands of tickets to people over the years, and more recently stresses related to the coronavirus have meant I’ve had to cancel events. Ultimately though, it’s about getting the job done as best you can.

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I was a degree student at the College and whilst here was offered the opportunity to do a PGCE placement and train on the job. It was such a great opportunity and one that I couldn’t really turn down! What do you enjoy most about teaching? It's just different. The semesters may be long, but there is always something different going on each day. I work with a great bunch of people who I have a laugh with!

Q:Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

All athletes are an inspiration to me. They put the graft in and set good examples.

Q: What has been our biggest achievement?

Winning the International Boxing Organisation Continental title and gaining a top 30 world ranking. Also, I have gained so much support in the local community. Over 1300 people attended at my last event at the King's Hall which is a really great site to see and hear.

Find out more about studying Sport at Stafford College...

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