River Wilson-Bent: “I’d fight Nathan Heaney in Stoke in front of all of his fans and I’d walk out first”

River Wilson-Bent: “I’d fight Nathan Heaney in Stoke in front of all of his fans and I’d walk out first”

Published On Tuesday, July 20, 2021By Richard Maynard

River Wilson-Bent wants Midlands derby with Nathan Heaney

Credit Hennessy Sports/Lawrence Lustig

Big-punching Coventry ace River Wilson-Bent believes that Stoke-on-Trent rival Nathan Heaney doesn’t want to face him for the Vacant English Middleweight title now that purse bids have been called by the BBBofC.

Midlands Area Champion Bent, 27, is gagging for the showdown and senses that Heaney has gone cold after seeing Bent knockout his last three opponents back-to-back in devastating style.

His last fight in May was a thriller against George Farrell when he halted the Derby man in the seventh round and is now looking to take the next step up on his pursuit of the Lonsdale belt.

In an interview with Ali Drew for Hennessy Sports’ YouTube Channel, Bent said, “We’ve shared a couple of rounds, we’ve done a few rounds with each other sparring.  Yeah, it will be a great fight, especially for the Midlands area. He’s a Stoke lad and I’m Coventry.  The amount of tickets that we’ll both sell, the roof will be lifted. I think the fight should happen. 

“On my behalf and my team's behalf, the fight will happen.  The only reason it won’t happen is obviously him. I’d fight him in Stoke in front of all of his fans and I’d walk out first.  That doesn’t bother me I want this fight it’s a massive fight. Let’s see what he says,”

Bent continued, “I don’t think he’s up for it to be fair.  I hope he proves me wrong but I don’t think he wants the fight.  I didn’t see him share it [news of the English title purse bids] when it first came out, I messaged him saying, 'this is cracking, let’s have it'. He looked at it, seen it, didn’t write anything for a while then he messaged me back saying ‘it would be a cracking fight’.  Then I messaged him back saying ‘Are you up for it then?’ Are we going to do it?’ and he didn’t even reply. So he’s looked at it and not replied that indicates to me that he’s had second thoughts or he hasn’t thought about it and I sense he doesn’t want the fight.”

Hammer-fisted Bent, who holds down a full-time job as a roofer, has been compared to a young Ricky Hatton with a similar exciting, hard-hitting, all-action style and can sell a huge amount of tickets due to his popular down-to-earth, man of the people, personality.

He said, “Ricky Hatton’s a legend.  If I can pull it off and get the same legacy as he has it it will be a dream,”

Hailing from Exhall, Bent aims to rejuvenate Coventry’s boxing scene that has a rich history with British and Commonwealth Champions champions including Dean Pithie, Neil Simpson, Richard Evatt, Steve Bendall and Andy Halder and he aims to go even further and become the city’s first World Champion.

He added, “Yeah definitely, I want to win the British title, I think there’s been two British champions from Coventry.  If I can go on to European and World title. If I win the English next, if I do fight Heaney for it, then it’s the next on the ladder.  I’ll keep going up and up.  Yeah, bringing boxing back to Coventry will be mad.”

Taylor first walked into a boxing gym in his early teens, but never expected to even compete as an amateur let alone earn a professional contract with a Hall of Fame promoter.

He explained: “I started when I was about 14, but I was only going to the boxing gym once a week to keep fit.

“Eventually I had to spar with guys who lived boxing, were in the gym most nights and competing as amateurs. I started getting beat up.

“I just wanted to be fit, fling a skipping rope around and tell my friends I was hitting the bag in the boxing gym.

“I lost interest, but still used a gym and eventually I got a bit of height and muscle. I went back to the boxing gym when I was 19-years-old, again for fitness and the rest is history.

“I was 20-3 as an amateur, my only losses came at elite level and I won five regional belts, but I was stepped up quickly because I was a late starter.

“It was a tough amateur career. Four fights in I was fighting guys who had 20 fights and that’s a lot in experience terms.

“On paper, I was meant to lose but I kept the momentum going and ended up in the elite championships early on.

“I’m grateful it happened because a lot of these kids have about 70 fights and it wasn’t a walk in the park. It made me the boxer I am today.”

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