‘He’s my world title fight’: Conor Benn vows to throw everything at Chris van Heerden as he closes in on the welterweight elite… while ‘The Heat’ emotionally says he wishes his father was here to watch him fight after his murder three years ago
- Conor Benn and Chris van Heerden go head-to-head in Manchester on Saturday
- Benn, 25, is on the verge of a world title fight after three stunning wins last year
- Van Heerden, 34, is the first southpaw of any real note the Brit will have faced
- The South African insists he’s the better boxer and vows to emerge victorious
- He also emotionally said he wishes his late father was around to see him fight
- Sign up here to watch Saturday’s fight exclusively on DAZN
Conor Benn insists he will not throw away six years of sacrifice as the welterweight contender vows to ‘throw everything’ at Chris van Heerden on Saturday night.
‘The Destroyer’ is on the periphery of a world title shot after a stellar 2021, in which he strolled past Samuel Vargas, Adrian Granados and Chris Algieri, but he now faces an experienced southpaw in a challenge he’s expected to overcome.
An emotional Van Heerden, 34, showed off a notable height advantage as the pair came face-to-face at Thursday’s press conference, and the South African insisted he has not travelled to the UK for a paycheck.
Conor Benn (left) and Chris van Heerden go square off at the Manchester Arena on Saturday
Benn’s remarkable rate of improvement has seen ‘The Destroyer’ ranked in the top five by the WBA, WBO and IBF, with promoter Eddie Hearn confirming to Sportsmail earlier this week that an elite welterweight will come next should he prevail.
The 25-year-old is widely expected to defeat Van Heerden on Saturday night, but on Thursday he insisted he won’t overlook the South African, stating this is his world title fight.
‘I work extremely hard, and it’s not just working hard this camp,’ he said. ‘It’s six years of sacrifice to let a moment like this slip between my fingers, because I’m overlooking Van Heerden as everyone says I should?
‘He’s my world title fight, and I’ve treated him like my world title fight.’
Benn is closing in on a world title shot and insisted he will not throw away the opportunity
The welterweight made a real statement with his stunning win over Chris Algieri last year
Benn, 25, puts his WBA Continental Welterweight title on the line as he looks to move to 21-0
With a mega-fight awaiting the 147lb contender, Benn also insisted he would pounce on any opening that arises.
‘If I see an opportunity I’m going to take it and try take him out,’ he said. ‘He’s saying I can’t box, which was a headline I believe I read.
‘He’s backtracking now, but last time I checked Algieri got outboxed and knocked out, unconscious. I can do both, ask Sebastian Formella. I’ve had 13 knockouts out of 20 fights – what were all the rest then, because I won them quite convincingly?
‘He can think what he wants, at the end of the day, but when I get in there I’m down to business. And if I see an opportunity, mark my words, if I see a slight opening I will take it, I will throw everything at him.
‘All I’ve got to see is a little twinge, a little eye-twitch and I’m on him.’
Van Heerden, meanwhile, has remained confident throughout the build-up to the fight, which will be his first on British soil.
The veteran southpaw, who shared the ring with Errol Spence Jr in 2015, has just one round of action in the bank since 2019, however, with his 2020 bout against welterweight prospect Jaron Ennis ruled a no contest following an accidental clash of heads.
Van Heerden believes he is the better boxer of the two and promised to show that on Saturday
The former IBO world champion is determined to get back to the top, though, insisting he’s a technically better fighter than his impending opponent.
‘It’s always been a dream and a vision, I never lost that vision,’ he said. ‘I’ve always worked hard to be here, because I do believe I still have what it takes to be in that top 10.
‘I see it. I didn’t come here for a paycheck. I didn’t come here to get a fight. I came here to get a fight, to get a win, to get my career back on track.
‘I do believe in myself and I do believe I have everything it takes to get right back up there.
‘He’s right up there with the best, I do believe that. That’s why I took this fight, because I want to be competitive.
‘If you talk about boxing, I do believe I’m a better boxer than Conor. An all round better boxer. He’s an angry aggressive fighter, I’m a boxer.’
The South African has shared the ring with some notable names, including Errol Spence Jr
Van Heerden also emotionally insisted he wishes his father was still here to see his crowning moment.
His father, Daniel Christoffel van Heerden, was shot dead in South Africa, aged 61, three years ago.
‘I just wish he was here, because we spoke about this moment for a long time,’ he said. ‘I left him for eight years, every birthday, every Christmas, chasing this dream.
‘And then my dad was brutally murdered three years ago. But we did it, we’re here. I feel it. This is it.’
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