Conor Benn vs. Chris Van Heerden – LIVE results
By Mark Eisner: Welterweight contender Conor Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) scored a second-round knockout win over veteran Chris Van Heerden (28-3-1, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
After an eventful first round, Benn, 25, caught the 34-year-old Van Heerden with a fight hand in the second round that stunned him.
Benn then unloaded with a series of shots, ending with a chopping right hand to the side of Van Heerden’s head that sent him down on the canvas. The fight was then halted by referee Steve Gray at 59 seconds of the second round.
Benn did a better job of stopping Van Heerden than Errol Spence, who needed eight rounds to knockout the South African in 2015.
- EBU cruiserweight champion Chris Billiam-Smith (15-1, 11 KOs) destroyed challenger Tommy McCarthy (18-4, 9 KOs) by an eighth-round knockout. Billiam-Smith unloaded with a torrent of shots that led to the stoppage. The time of the knockout was at 1:28 of the eighth.
- Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (7-0, 2 KOs) kept his perfect record intact with a dominating six-round points decision over journeyman Ezequiel Gregores (3-10). The score was 60-50. Fighting in a similar high-pressure style as his famous father Ricky Hatton, the 21-year-old Campbell was on the attack from the word go, stalking Gregores, and nailing him with books to the head and body. Campbell’s power wasn’t anywhere near what his father had exhibited during his successful career, but he’s still young yet. As Campbell gets older, he should develop more pop in his punches. For the time being, he’s right where he needs to be. There’s no need in moving him quickly.
- Alycia Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) put on a masterclass in successfully defending her WBC female super featherweight title with a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision over challenger Edith Matthysse (17-12-1, 1 KOs). Baumgardner had too much firepower for the steel-chinned Matthysse and was target practice for her the entire one-sided fight. The scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 100-90.
- Light heavyweight Jack Cullen (20-3-1, 9 KOs) won an impressive eight-round points decision over Vladimir Belujsky (12-3-1, 8 KOs). Cullen, 28, outworked the tough Slovakian Belujsky, winning by an 80-72 score. All in all, it was an excellent bounce-back victory for Cullen, who had been stopped in the sixth round in his previous fight by France’s Kevin Lele Sadjo last December.
Preview: Benn faces his first southpaw
“Van Heerden is a big, strong welterweight. He’s a southpaw and it’s the first one for Conor Benn’s career, and it’s a really tough fight,” said Eddie Hearn to ThaBoxingVoice.
“I think Conor Benn is maturing into one of the best welterweights in the world, and we’ll see if that’s the case on Saturday. I would put him in with [WBA welterweight champion Yordenis] Ugas now, and I rate Ugas. I think he’s a tremendous fighter.
“Errol Spence, I think is a level above, but he has been through a lot, Errol Spence. I don’t agree with that,” said Hearn when told that he’s only matching Conor Benn against older fighters at the ends of their careers.
“We’re progressing him towards the big fights, and [David] Avanesyan is in the mix of the next fights that we talk about. Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Maurice Hooker, who was actually going to fight here. Avanesyan is in the same bracket as those guys.
“If Conor Benn can make a million quid to fight Avanesyan or two million to fight Mikey Garcia, what are you going to do? All I said yesterday and I’ll say it again. You’re comparing opponents, right?
“Conor Benn’s last three opponents: Adrian Granados, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden. Even take the last two opponents, Chris Algieri and Chris Van Heerden.
“Avanesyan’s last two opponents: Liam Taylor and [Oskari] Metz. I don’t even know his name. How can you even comment about Conor Benn’s opponents when you’re fighting that level of opposition?
“So the answer is at the moment is Conor Benn is fighting much tougher, much better opposition than David Avanesyan. Now that is the kind of fight, the level of fight that we need next.
“So if it’s him, it could be him, but if it’s a fight for the same danger for twice the money. When I said yesterday about them [Avanesyan] selling five or six hundred tickets for Avanesyan’s fight, it averaged six thousand viewers on BT. That’s potentially having your contract canceled kind of numbers.
“You can’t tell me he’s a big star, and I give him a lot of props. People say, ‘Eddie disrespects David Avanesyan.’ How am I disrespecting him by saying, ‘He’s a really good welterweight, and he’s a dangerous welterweight, he punches really hard.’
“I like watching him box, but there are a lot bigger fights out there for Conor Benn that carry the same danger. I can’t be more honest than that. I’m not saying, ‘He’s not good enough, he’s rubbish.’
“I’m saying, ‘He’s really good and we might fight him, but if there’s a fight that is really tough that pays Conor Benn twice as much money, guess what? We’re taking that one.’ So we’ll see who is available,” said Hearn in dropping a big hint that Benn’s next opponent WON’T be David Avanesyan.
“Another thing, don’t base your career around Conor Benn. You’ve got a guy that is ranked top three in the world with the governing bodies.
“By the way, just so it’s known, when we were working with David Avanesyan, we offered him a world title eliminator against Alexis Rocha. He turned it down and fought Liam Taylor instead. True facts. Answer that one. Why did you do that?
Van Heerden views Benn as one-dimensional
“He’s undefeated 20-0 and I think he’s going to be a problem for a lot of people,” said Chris Van Heerden to Pro Boxing Fans about Conor Benn. “He’s aggressive, young, and an emotional fighter.
“I respect him as a fighter, but I’m a better boxer,” said Van Heerden. “He comes in and relies on his power. I haven’t seen [boxing from Conor].
“The [Adrian] Granados fight, for example. Granados made him miss by moving, he was very frustrated. I haven’t seen what I want to see from him to say, ‘Hey, he’ll give Errol Spence, he’ll give those guys a run for his money.’
“I’ve got the heart, I’ve got the skills, I’ve worked with a lot of people, and I know I have what it takes,” said Van Heerden when asked what makes him think he’s got the game to defeat Benn tonight.
“I just need a shot, and on any given night, I’ll give anyone problems at 147. It could be against anyone at 147. I’m going to bring my best. I’m expecting an angry, aggressive guy to come out,” said Van Heerden about Benn.
“I’m going to have to have my eyes wide open and make sure I survive the first few rounds very tactically. As things progress, they’ll slow down, I believe, and then we’ll take it from there.
“To win this, my life changes. A win from this, is another world title shot, a legitimate world title shot. It puts me right back into the big talks, the massive talks. That’s what it would mean.
“In my vision, I see a W, I see my hand raised. Whatever way that is, I see my hand being raised,” said Van Heerden. “This is my dream come true.”
Highly ranked welterweight contender Conor Benn will be fighting tonight in a showcase fight against the capable veteran Chris Van Heerden in the main event on DAZN from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The live-action begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on DAZN.
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