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Mark Heffron To Fight Christian Mbilli in Quebec On May 25

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Mark Heffron has been handed the opportunity to change the entire course of his career.

On May 25, the big-punching super middleweight will travel to Canada and fight the unbeaten Christian Mbilli, 26-0 (22 KOs), at the Gervais Auto Centre in Quebec. The WBC continental and the WBA international belts will be on the line.

The heavy-handed Frenchman is in a rich vein of form and has recently recorded quality victories over Carlos Gongora and Rohan Murdock. Mbilli, 28, is ranked in the top five with all four major governing bodies and sits at number three in the Ring Magazine rantings. 

Last September Heffron, 30-3-1 (24 KOs), was stopped in three rounds by his former gym-mate, Jack Cullen, and lost his British and Commonwealth titles in the process.

After that defeat, the 32 year old from Oldham teamed up with Manchester-based trainer Lee Beard, and returned to action in February with a confidence-boosting knockout of Serhii Ksendzov. After that fight Heffron’s manager Kevin Maree told BoxingScene that rather than rebuilding at British level he and Heffron wanted to continue progressing and would be open to offers from across the Atlantic. 

“I think this ticks every single box I was looking for,” Maree said. “I wanted an away fight with meaning. I could have got him many away fights but we wanted something to sink our teeth into. If Mark wins this one, it propels him ahead of any place he’s ever been close to being in his career. It’s perfect.”

Maree knows that Heffron faces a difficult task but is also certain that Mbilli is in for an extremely dangerous night’s work. The higher reaches of the super-middleweight division are occupied by top quality operators like the undisputed champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Jaime Munguia and promising fighters like David Morrell, Edgar Berlanga and Diego Pacheco. Mbilli sits comfortably in that company but, style-wise, Maree believes that he couldn’t have found a better big name opponent for Heffron.

“Mbilli is unbeaten but I also think he’s perfect for Mark,” he said. “If you watch him, he can be hit and if you’re fighting Mark Heffron and you’re easy to hit you’ve got a big problem. If he lands, you’re in big trouble.

“Mark’s needed a fight like this. They are going to meet and they are going to trade. There’s no way around that. He’s not some big, tall elusive boxer who’s gonna run around the ring and evade Mark for 10 rounds. This is a fighter who’s gonna stand with Mark and trade and I’ve always said that Mark Heffron has got world-class, special power. 

“We made a mistake for a few years of getting down to middleweight and I think he lost a bit of power because he was killing himself to make weight. At 168lbs, he’s a dangerous, dangerous animal.”

Heffron is popular fighter from a well-known family and while that brings plenty of benefits, it also brings its own pressures. Maree has managed Heffron for years and has longed for the chance to see him let off the leash, away from the stress of fighting in front of an expectant home crowd and the constant demands for his attention that eat up valuable hours as a fight approaches. 

Heffron will go to Canada and be able to concentrate purely on the task at hand and after the defeat to Cullen he will carry very few expectations to the ring. Maree used his connections to secure the fight and is confident that all the pieces are in place for Heffron to produce a special performance.

“I’ve said this so many times over the years,” he said. “Sometimes a loss can be a huge blessing because you get an opportunity that you wouldn’t have otherwise. If Mark had beaten Jack Cullen we would never have got this fight. What happened happened. We’ve got the fight and Mark can win it and propel himself 10 levels above where he would have been.

“We’ll be well looked after. There won’t be any silliness. It’s a fair fight and one that I’m really confident in. Mark’s attitude towards it is that he just can’t wait. He’s so excited and it’s everything that he wants as well.”

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