LAST weekend Nathan Heaney and Brad Pauls battled to a draw for the British middleweight title, which meant the champion (Heaney) clung onto his title and the challenger (Pauls) walked away empty-handed despite sharing the points verdict.

The logical thing to happen would be a rematch between the pair. It makes sense if two fighters can’t be separated on points in their first meeting. However, in boxing the logical option is rarely the option taken if there are other, more lucrative paths on offer.

I found myself in the same situation as Pauls when I first challenged for the British super-lightweight title back in 2017 against then-champion Tyrone Nurse. We fought to a contentious draw and I was desperate for a rematch that never materialised.

Nurse next put his title on the line against Jack Catterall, the more lucrative option, as opposed to the rematch against me which would have made sense if professional boxing was a sport first rather than a business. I hope Pauls has better luck in his situation than I did in mine and secures another shot at the champion.

Dalton Smith, the current holder of the same belt Nurse and I contested, boxes on Saturday (March 23) in what is, on paper, the toughest fight of his career against multiple world title challenger Jose Zepeda. The best win of Zepeda’s career is probably a fifth-round knockout of former IBF champion Ivan Baranchyk, a crazy fight that included a total of eight knockdowns!

Zepeda has also lost world title fights against top quality opposition in Jose Ramirez and Regis Prograis. And last time fell wide of the mark against the relatively untested Richardson Hitchins. That defeat to Hitchins may suggest the 34-year-old is not quite what he once was, and the time is right for Smith to earn the biggest win of his career so far.

If Smith can win in impressive fashion, it will be a statement which suggests he is ready to progress on and face more opponents at world level. I would, however, like to see him against current European champion Adam Azim first.