Nathan Healey shows us his gums and his guns in the ring
If there’s one thing a drag queen and a boxer have in common then it’s making an entrance. Well, that and possessing a thick skin and the ability to bounce back up after a nasty drop. Ever since Sylvester Stallone immortalised the Survivor power rock classic ‘Eye Of the Tiger’ in 1976’s smash hit boxing flick Rocky, showmanship has become a huge part of boxing. Whether you’re fighting at Madison Square Gardens or at the local gym, a good entrance can get the crowd on your side before you’ve even swung a punch.
Hitman hits the brief
Back in March 2020 when public sport events were in full swing, professional boxer Nathan ‘Hitman’ Heaney, 27, took to the stage in Stoke’s King’s Hall accompanied by a rousing rendition of Tom Jones’ legendary ‘Delilah’. With a 1300 strong crowd singing along to every word of the unofficial Stoke City anthem, Heaney’s walk on has gone down in boxing history and has been watched millions of times online since then. He went on to triumph and became Midlands champion having not lost a fight since turning pro in 2018.
Nathan Heaney takes on Nelson Altamirano
From the huge amounts of drama that accompany the fighter’s bear baiting antics to the verbal sniping, you’d be forgiven for thinking two topless sweating men hugging in a ring was somewhat homoerotic.
World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury made headlines for all the wrong reasons with various homophobic comments in 2018 and to this day, only one professional boxer has ever come out whilst still competing, 38 year-old Puerto Rican Orlando Cruz.
Orlando Cruz were his LGBT briefs with Pride
Cruz, who has never hidden his sexuality, is currently ranked fourth in the world by the WBO (World Boxing Organisation) among featherweights and indeed married his partner José Manuel in 2013.
LGBTQ plus boxing
Leeds’s very own Nicola Adams OBE, 37 is openly bisexual and was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain after she won gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Much like football, boxing is renowned for its machismo and male posturing which can be counterintuitive when it comes to being gay which has its own issues with masculinity.
Olympic champ Nicola Adams shows us her 2012 gold medal
That doesn’t mean however that it’s less of an influence on gay fashion. From wrestling boots, to voluminous shiny shorts, to sport socks and jocks, you’ll find most of the few items a boxer wears in the ring in much of gay culture and shopping. We’re sure you could even find a satin dressing gown as well if you looked hard enough.
As for Mr Heaney, who is also a full-time teacher and new dad, we wish him all the best on his journey. Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Hitman, and we’re not complaining at all.