Chris Van Heerden Says Conor Benn is No Man’s Boxer
On April 16, Chris Van Heerden (28-2-1,12 KOs) will step in the ring to face world-ranked welterweight Conor Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Benn is the marquee attraction. Ranked fifth by the IBF and seventh by the WBO at 147 pounds, Benn is being heavily hyped by his promoters at Matchroom, who envision him as a future world champion and someone on the cusp of stardom.
However, none of that matters to Van Heerden. The 34-year-old South African scoffs at the hoopla surrounding his upcoming opponent. Having previously faced current unified welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr and highly ranked 147 pounder Jaron Ennis, he sees himself humbling the brash 25-year-old from Great Britain. During an interview with Matchroom, Van Heerden said Benn is one-dimensional and lacks a certain mental maturity.
“I’m a much better boxer than Conor Benn. In my opinion, Conor is an emotional, angry fighter. He relies on his power. He cannot box with me. He’s not a boxer. He’s a power puncher and I don’t rate him as a boxer. That’s why I’m saying he’s a very emotional, angry type of fighter, in my opinion.”
A southpaw, Van Heerden believes that will be to his benefit on fight night. Team Benn is viewing this match as a springboard towards a world title or big-money fight later this year. But the veteran sees this as his moment to shine.
Van Heerden feels that the son of British boxing legend Nigel Benn has had the road paved for him so far. Simply put, he feels he’s the more grizzled fighter.
FIGHTING FOR MORE THAN HIMSELF
There’s also an additional source of motivation. Van Heerden was introduced to the sport by his father Peter, who was killed in 2018 in South Africa. His late father will be a source of strength as he steps into the ring in Manchester.
“My pops believed in me so much. My dad was murdered in South Africa, it’s been just over three years. I’m in the gym all of the time. Why? Because that’s where I feel my dad’s presence the most. I miss my dad so much, but when I’m in the gym I feel him.
I left South Africa because of a dream and a vision of one day fighting in a fight of this magnitude. The one man that believed in me was my dad. Eight years ago, I went to my dad, and I said, ‘Dad, I want to do this. Do you think I have what it takes to do this?’. My dad was the one man that believed in me when there were so many people that said ‘no’.
My dad told me that I’d do it. My dad was my hero. He was my father and my inspiration. This is what this fight means to me. That’s why me and Conor Benn will forever be tied together because he’s helping me make peace with this.”
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.