Conor Benn’s shortlist revealed for next fight: Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia or Danny after Van Heerden
By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn already has Adrien Broner, Kell Brook, Danny Garcia, and Mikey Garcia on the shortlist for Conor Benn’s summer fight provided he defeats Chris Van Heerden this Saturday night on DAZN.
Hearn wants one of those big names for the highly ranked unbeaten welterweight star Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) to help sell tickets and to broaden his global worldwide status.
Eddie feels that by matching Benn against the likes of Broner, Danny, Mikey, or Brook, he’ll be able to generate the most amount of buzz to help increase his rise to the top.
The former four-division world champion ‘The Problem’ Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) is already in training in Colorado, so he would be the ideal opponent for Benn’s summer fight, as long as he doesn’t price himself out.
In the meantime, Benn, 25, needs to defeat the 34-year-old gatekeeper Van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs) this Saturday, April 16th at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Benn vs. Van Heerden will be the main event on the card, which will be streamed live on DAZN.
Benn fights his first southpaw
“Because Conor Benn is one of the biggest stars in the sport. He’s one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, and I think this is a good test,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about Benn’s fight against Chris Van Heerden on Saturday night.
“It’s the first southpaw he’s ever faced. Six months ago, people didn’t rate Conor Benn. Now all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Van Heerden is an easy fight. He’s got to go and fight Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, or whoever.’
“As Van Heerden said there, his last fight was against Jaron Ennis, heading on Showtime. It was a [first round] no contest. He took that fight on two weeks’ notice.
“He’s a tough man, an emotional man. He’s been through a lot, and I think he’s going to be fighting with a lot of will on Saturday.
“He talks about Conor Benn being an emotional fighter. He’s an emotional fighter too, and this is the big moment that he and his dad dreamed of being in an arena in the UK.
“He’s a tough man, a very tough man, but Conor Benn is dangerous and spiteful and brutal, and he wants to take people out. He said if he sees any openings, he’s going to take him out.
“The important thing as well is he’s fighting a southpaw. He’s [Benn] never boxed a southpaw in his whole [six-year] career in 20 fights.
“You can not get to the elite level and have to fight Errol Spence or a brilliant southpaw having never faced one. It’s going to be interesting to see how Conor Benn deals with that, but I expect a spiteful performance. But I also expect a tough Van Heerden,” Hearn said.
Hearn lists Conor’s options for summer fight
“I think it could go deep, but I think Conor is going to be brilliant,” said Hearn about Benn’s fight against Van Heerden on Saturday. “Then we need to make a big, big fight for the summer.
“Amir [Khan] wants the fight [with Benn] now, but Amir is talking about coming back and wanting to have a fight first and then fighting Conor.
“I think he has an appetite to carry on in that respect. The [Kell] Brook fight [for Benn] is the fight to make. We made him a big offer. They asked for ten million pounds, so obviously that’s not realistic.
“If it’s not them, you got [Adrien] Broner, you got Danny Garcia, you got Mikey Garcia, they’re the type of fights we need to make for Conor. Let’s see him get through the fight on Saturday, and you’ll see the big fights from Conor Benn. He wants them all.
“He fills arenas in those kinds of fights. He just done a big crowd in Liverpool, and we’ve got a good crowd there on Saturday in Manchester. This is a kid from London, so I think his progression has been brilliant.
“Just under 6,000,” said Hearn when asked what the size of the crowd will be for Saturday’s fight between Benn and Van Heerden at the Manchester Arena.
“It’s a kid from London boxing in Manchester. You just had Brook and Khan here [in Manchester] as well. You’ve got Fury-Whyte next week, so we’re happy.
“It’s not just about numbers [for Benn], it’s about taking him around the country and showcasing him as a star. This kid is a global star.
“He’s going to be in big welterweight fights, but he’s got to win in what I think will be a much tougher fight than people expect,” said Hearn.
Avanesyan not a big enough name
“You can put [David] Avanesyan at world level, and I’ve said before that Avanesyan is a world-class fighter,” said Hearn. “That’s the type of fight that we should be in next.
“By the way, do you think I’m going to put him [Conor] in with Avanesyan over Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Adrien Broner, Kell Brook?
“Do me a favor, they sold around 400 tickets for the Avanesyan fight. Have you seen the viewing figures on BT? It was about 6,000 people, averaging for the audience for David Avanesyan to fight.
“Who was the last fight person he boxed? [Oskari] Metz and Liam Taylor before that. No disrespect to Liam Taylor, but he couldn’t win a British title. He [Avanesyan] boxed Metz.
“It was one of the most horrendous pieces of matchmaking I’ve ever seen. It was embarrassing, and you want to call out one of the biggest stars in world boxing, Conor Benn. Listen, Avanesyan is a world-class fighter, I’m not disputing that.
“I need a guy that is going to fill up an arena in the UK where worldwide audiences are going to clamor for. Not a guy [Avanesyan] that just sold 400 tickets and did a 6,000 audience.
“I’ll give him the respect of being a world-class fighter, and if we can’t get a big name, we’ll fight Avanesyan, no problem. But he ain’t on the top of the shopping list, that’s for sure.
“And Carl Grieves can be as speechless as he wants. Have a real fight [for Avanesyan], not Metz, whoever that geezer was because that was embarrassing. How BT allowed that fight to take place, it was a shocking decision for their boxing archive or whatever you want to call it,” said Hearn.
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