By Scott Gilfoid: Conor Benn and Eddie Hearn aren’t interested in setting up a fight against the dangerous EBU welterweight champion David Avanesyan, preferring instead to put together a match with inactive 34-year-old Chris van Heerden instead for April 16th.
Both Hearn and Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) justify the choice of van Heerden over Avanesyan (28-3-1, 16 KOs), saying that the South African shared the ring with highly ranked 147-lb contender Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis in his last fight, albeit TWO years ago in 2020.
What Benn and Hearn aren’t saying is that Van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs) looked something awful against then 22-year-old ‘Boots’ Ennis, taking terrible punishment during the first round of the contest before it was halted due to a cut Chris sustained from a clash of heads.
The video of the Ennis vs. Van Heerden massacre is below for any boxing fans that wish to get a glimpse of how truly terrible this mismatch was two years ago in 2020.
Given that van Heerden hasn’t fought since and is now 34-years-old, Gilfoid can’t imagine that he’s magically improved.
The way that Hearn & Benn got all worked up in justifying their choice of van Heerden over Avanesyan, suggests that they’re dodging the talented Russian.
There are already many boxing fans that see Conor Benn’s entire career as just a hustle in which he’s intentionally being matched against old guys that can no longer fight just to make some easy dough off the back of his famous father Nigel Benn’s name.
In contrast, the former two-division world champion Nigel wasn’t matched against cannon fodder level opposition during the same period in his career when he was Conor’s age. By the time Nigel was 25, he’d already fought these killers:
- Iran Barkley
- Chris Eubank
- Doug Dewitt
- Michael Watson
- Robbie Sims
Hearn & Benn NOT interested in Avaneysan
Conor Benn: “See who he’s fighting,” said Conor to iFL TV when asked about the possibility of fighting David Avanesyan.
Eddie Hearn: “Look at who he’s [Avanesyan] fighting. David Avanesyan is fighting some geezer called ‘Metz’ [Oskari Metz], who I’ve never heard of in my life.
“The fight before that, he [Avanesyan] fought Liam Taylor. No disrespect to Liam Taylor. He turned down from us Abel Ramos in an eliminator for a world title in Los Angeles to fight Liam Taylor,” said Hearn about Avanesyan.
“He’s now fighting Metz. So when he starts fighting in his recent run people like [Chris] Van Heerden, people like Algieri, people like Granados, then talk to us.
“He’s [Avanesysan] a brilliant, I’ve said it before, but it doesn’t always work out like that.”
Benn: “They try and paint a picture. ‘Oh, we’re scared of Avanesyan and this and that,’ but no, look at who he’s fighting. Look, I’m not going to do him no favors either. I say that because I don’t need him.
“I can fight whoever else. My career don’t depend on him, but you can see it’s a money-grab from his point of view. Who else is he calling out? Who else is he fighting and willing to call out?”
Hearn: “To be honest with you, I’ve done it before where I’ve used someone’s name for publicity [name-dropping/clout chasing]. Yeah, I’ve pissed off those people so much that actually, it makes that person go ‘f*** off.’
“There’s quite a few actually but it’s been a long run. But he’s [Benn] looking at it right now seeing this guy [Avanesyan] slagging him off all the time. ‘Oh, he’s scared,’ and it makes you go, ‘Alright, mate. You fight Metz in front of 400 people.'”
Benn: “Carl Grieves and Nick, and whoever his [Avanesyan] team has got, you crack on. You do whatever you got to do because you say I’m scared and this or that. Am I really, though?
“When you look at who I’m fighting in progression to get a world title. If you had a final eliminator on the table and he’s [Avanesyan] turned that down to fight Liam Taylor or Metz, all right, mate. Pull the other one.”
Hearn: “Imagine if he [Conor Benn] fought Metz, just for a second, yeah. We announce the new fight on April 16th at the Manchester Arena is Conor Benn headlining against Metz.
“I hope Metz isn’t watching because he ain’t going to be happy with me. Can you imagine on that show Avanesyan on that show? If I put a show like that, I would get absolutely obliterated. And if he [Benn] fought a guy like that, he would get absolutely obliterated.
“But you know what? That’s what happens when you’re at the top because everyone wants to try and bring you down. Bad news for you, we’re staying there.”
“Benn: “Drop the mic.”
Van Heerden has accepted Benn fight for April
Hearn: “As I said the other day, Chris van Heerden has accepted an offer that we’ve discussed [for him to fight Conor Benn]. We haven’t finalized the deal yet from our side, but we’re ready to go with that fight.
“Maurice Hooker accepted the fight. We did that deal with Golden Boy. He called a week later and said he got his back injured in the second day of training. He was our first choice. So, I think it’s very likely that it’s going to be Van Heerden next.
Benn: “Of course I am [happy with the choice of Van Heerden]. Any of the top Americans or any of the top fighters. Obviously, he just fought Jaron Ennis [in 2020], so if people want to do that comparison. Well, that’s fine.”
Hearn: “Yeah [ then 22-year-old Ennis] fought Van Heerden in his 26th fight, and it was Chris van Heerden’s last fight [two years ago in 2020].
“So obviously, he’s been out with COVID and he had some family issues as well. He’s a good fighter, and he’s [Van Heerden] a southpaw and he’s extremely tough. A tough, tough man.
“The fight with Jaron Ennis only went one round because it was finished on cuts. I mean, he [Ennis] was clearly winning the fight. I’m sorry, it was only one round.
“I saw someone interviewed yesterday where there was a bit of criticism about Chris van Heerden.
“His last fight was against Jaron Ennis on Showtime [two years ago in 2020]. So he’s not okay for Conor Benn? They must think Conor Benn is a lot better than Jaron Ennis.”
Benn: “It’s one or the other. It’s I’m either really terrible.
Hearn: “But if you’re terrible, you’ll lose to Chris Van Heerden.”
Benn: “Or Algieri or Vargas or Formella.”
Eddie RAVES about Van Heerden
Hearn: “But no disrespect to Algieri, but Van Heerden is a different. He’s bigger, I think he’s tougher and he’s more durable.
“I rate you highly. Van Heerden is a tough fight and it was okay for Jaron Ennis last time out [two years ago in 2020] on Showtime in his 26th fight.
“But when Conor Benn steps in with him, it’s ‘Oh, it’s Chris Van Heerden. [Sebastian] Fomella, [Samuel] Vargas, Algieri, Van Heerden.”
Benn: “It’s just mad because they’re good enough for Shawn Porter to fight, they’re good enough for Amir Khan to fight or Vergil Ortiz or they’re good enough for all these other names to fight. But when I fight them, ‘Oh, he’s past it.’ It’s just madness. Why don’t they give me the credit I deserve?”
Hearn: “When he [Benn] boxed Formella, Formella’s fight before was Shawn Porter headlining on PBC, and it went 12 rounds. When he [Conor] steps up against Formella, ‘Oh, well, he just lost to Shawn Porter, didn’t he?’ Obviously, yeah.
“I’ve always said that we are two or three fights behind Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz. That’s my opinion. Not in terms of ability, just in terms of the progression.”
Benn: “In terms of progression, yeah. Every fight, I leveled up every single time. I’ve displayed different qualities and different attributes that I’ve got inside me. So I’m always working and always progressing.
“So why have these fights when I don’t need to when I’m progressing the way I am? So, I’m always learning and always growing with each fight I’ll learn and improve. I’ll demonstrate something different.
“So I’m ready for now, but it’s up to Eddie. I would have those fights now. If he presented [Yordenis] Ugas fight to me for my next fight, I’d take the fight any day of the week.”