THE RESULT: Rarely do British title fights disappoint, and tonight’s (March 16) British middleweight title fight between Nathan Heaney and Brad Pauls in Birmingham certainly didn’t. It ended all square after 12 rounds – by scores of 116-113, 115-114 and 114-114 – but the disappointment of there being no winner is assuaged somewhat by the thrilling spectacle both middleweights managed to produce. In a 12-round war, neither man took a backwards step, lulls were few and far between, and both were looking to win the final round, knowing it could all come down to that. It was, in other words, a classic British title fight.

KEY MOMENTS: Heaney started the fight the better of the two, landing a big right hand in the second round and using his probing jab to good effect in the early going. Boxing, at times, like an elongated Johnny Tapia, long black socks and all, he would peck at Pauls from afar before then shocking him with a surprisingly quick and heavy right cross. Pauls, meanwhile, despite a sluggish first half of the fight, came alive in round eight when he rocked Heaney with his own right hand, causing Heaney to lose his gum shield and use the subsequent timeout, as well as some clinches, to see him through to the bell. He was then hurt even more in the 11th round, a round in which Pauls truly got on top and appeared on the brink of stopping Heaney on more than one occasion only to ultimately punch himself out.

RECORDS: With the draw Heaney, 34, now has a pro record of 18-0-1 (6), while Pauls’, 30, now has a pro record of 18-1-1 (10).

TALKING POINT: One wonders how Pauls will feel about the moment in round eight when he staggered Heaney with a massive right hand only for Heaney to lose his gum shield and buy himself time. A turning point, perhaps, Pauls was no doubt robbed of further momentum, and maybe even a finish, by the timeout called by the referee. With a minute still to go in the round, Heaney would have felt a relieved man when asked to resume fighting.

QUOTABLE: “I’m gutted, absolutely gutted,” said Heaney. “I wanted to win. I thought I did enough to win but I also let him into it as well. He caught me a few times. Fair play to him, he was excellent.”

Pauls, meanwhile, said: “Mixed emotions, to be honest. I think the crowd enjoyed it, so I’m happy about that. I always want to entertain. But I wanted that belt. Respect to Nathan. He has done it the way I have; small hall, worked his way up. I just wanted his belt. It’s nothing personal.”

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: Earlier in the evening Heaney’s promoter, Frank Warren, said that if Heaney beat Paul “he will get a shot at a world title”. Whether that ends up being true or not remains to be seen, but there is clearly interest in moving Heaney towards bigger honours in the future. It makes sense, too. He has a great story, an entertaining style, a large Stoke fan base, and also the potential to fight in bigger arenas – especially at home. As well as all that, he is 34 years of age, so will be aware of the need to maximise this opportunity. First, though, given how tonight’s fight ended, why not have Heaney and Pauls fight again? “We’ll see what Frank wants,” said Heaney. “But I’m more than happy to do what he wants me to do.”