Super-middleweight star Mark Heffron has his eyes set on boxing’s most prestigious prizes after downing Raimonds Sniedze in his latest appearance.
The 23-year-old, in only his second bout after an 18-month absence from the sport, obliterated the Latvian with a devastating cocktail of blows which ultimately forced referee Phil Edwards to halt the contest two minutes in to the second round at Radcliffe Civic Hall.
Nobody has ever stopped him that quickly before. I bet he’s feeling the pain.Mark Heffron
The outcome took Heffron’s record to nine stoppages from his 11 professional triumphs, including the crushing first round knockout inflicted on Hungarian Janos Olah in Andalucia, Spain, in August.
“I felt good,” he said. “It was the first time that I’d boxed in front of my own fans in about two years so I was nervous but I enjoyed it. I could’ve moved my head a bit more, chilled out a bit and then put it on him after the halfway point. I wanted to get a few more rounds in but at least it went past the first. I thought it could’ve been stopped earlier to be fair.
“He’s been in with some decent guys - he went the distance with Lee Markham who just fought Luke Blackledge. Nobody has ever stopped him that quickly before. I bet he’s feeling the pain.”
Heffron moved away from his hometown of Oldham in the New Year to team up with boxing coach Kevin Maree at his base in Gisburn, and he’s certainly feeling the benefits of relocating to the Ribble Valley.
“My training camps have been mint and Kev (Maree) has been brilliant,” he said. “He does everything to perfection. He’s made me in to a 10-times better boxer than what I was because he works on everything with me. He’s always on my case.
“I’ll hopefully be back out again in December at Victoria Warehouse. There hasn’t been any names mentioned yet but that doesn’t matter at the moment. I’ll give them the same treatment as I’ve given everyone else.”
What is certain, though, is that Heffron has the pedigree, potential and the power to achieve everything he wants in the sport. As a teenager he added legendary trainer Freddie Roach as a suitor following sparring sessions with Amir Khan in America ahead of his successful WBA World super lightweight title defence against Paul Malignaggi in May 2010.
“I was in America when I was 19,” Heffron recalled. “It was a great experience and my manager Gary Hyde got me a few sparring sessions with Amir Khan who was training for a world title fight. I sparred him about four times before coming home to fight Glenn Foot in the ABA semi-finals. I thought I got the better of him in sparring.
“Not many fighters get that kind of opportunity so young. That gave me the hunger to go on and succeed in the sport. It was brilliant being able to surround myself with people like that.”
He added: “There’s not too many records like mine about so I take a lot of pride in that. I just want to get another couple of fights in before pushing for an English title shot. I will work my way up from there but I want to go through them all before moving on to European and World title shots.”