All the pieces of the jigsaw seem to be coming together for highly-touted super-middleweight fighter Mark Heffron.
Having secured contractual terms with Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, awaiting his debut under the BoxNation and BT Sport banner, the 25-year-old has since sparred in the presence of his idol and repaired the once broken relationship that he had suffered with his dad.
Boxing requires stability, security, discipline and direction and the latest developments in Heffron’s life, both inside and outside the ring, have seen all four elements intertwine.
The man with one of the best knockout ratios in boxing, at 85.7% from 14 professional appearances, ranking him fourth in Britain in the hierarchy of fighters who have fought 10 or more times, has been handed the platform and exposure required to propel his career to the next level having penned a three-year deal with Queensbury Promotions.
And that chapter begins on April 8th when he fights at the Manchester Arena on a stacked undercard headed by the battle between Liam Williams and Liam Smith for the interim WBO World super welterweight title and Terry Flanagan’s WBO World lightweight title defence against Petr Petrov.
“It’s my first fight with BoxNation,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited about being part of a massive show with the likes of Terry Flanagan, Liam Williams, Liam Smith and Nicola Adams. I’ve worked hard to get here and it feels like everything is slowly coming together.”
The Oldham-born pugilist, who goes by the alias ‘Kid Dynamite’, has been backed to do the business in boxing from a young age, ever since stopping Torsten Roos on his bow in the Netherlands in 2010.
Heffron may have lived up to such promise at an earlier stage had a hand injury not blighted his progression in the sport.
However, a switch back to the Stirk House, following a brief stint with Pat Barrett at The Collyhurst and Moston Lads Club, and a meeting with former world champion Ricky Hatton, has given Heffron the drive to make up for lost time.
After sparring with prospect Jack Haigh at the Hatton Academy in Hyde, Heffron said: “I went down to his gym and sparred a decent lad. We got a good six rounds in and it went well.
“I had a chat with Ricky afterwards. We were talking about his career, certain fights that he’d had in the past, awkward opponents.
“I asked him how he got so fit because he used to breeze through 12 rounds. He told me ‘hill sprints’. I went home and did 15 of them that night.
“He was definitely an inspiration of mine. He was a role-model; I always used to watch his fights growing up.
“We’re different styles of fighters but I liked the way he threw his body shots and his movement on the inside.
“I loved the fight where he fought Kostya Tszyu and his wins against Luis Collazo and Jose Luis Castillo were also very good. He had some great wins throughout his career.
“He’s at the top for me in the history of British boxing. We’ve had some very good fighters but in my opinion there hasn’t been anybody better. He achieved a lot in the sport, he always turned up for a fight and he never let his fans down.
“I’ve modelled myself on him a little bit. I like the way he throws his shots, especially to the body, and I try and tailor that to my style. My shots are having a big impact in fights.
“It’s amazing having him ringside. He complimented me afterwards.
“It just makes me want to succeed in the sport. I want the success that he’s had. I just want a piece of what he’s had.”
Heffron, who has also impressed one-time WBU middleweight champion Anthony Farnell during his training camp, was introduced to boxing by his dad, Tommy, a former pro who fought at light heavyweight.
Schooled at Oldham Boys ABC, and inspired by brothers Ronnie, Ben and Thomas, the 168lb pugilist is glad to have his role-model back on side following a well-documented altercation just over two years ago.
“I fell out with my dad two years ago and we’ve just got back on speaking terms,” he said. “I’ve sorted things out with him now and everything is perfect.
“He used to train all my brothers at Oldham Boys ABC and I’ve been around it all since I was born. When he was boxing we all used to go down to the gym with him then.
“I’ve always been around the sport. He was the one that started it all off for me. He brought Ronnie, Ben and Thomas through and I got in to it through watching them. I wanted a piece of it myself. I’m buzzing and it’s massive for me.
“It’s always been on my mind. I’ve lost concentration through it but I’m happy again now. I think my boxing will benefit from it and he’ll be there at my fights supporting me. It will give me that extra push.”