IBO Welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden recently returned from a trip to the United States of America where he rubbed shoulders with some of boxing’s elite including Oscar De La Hoya, Victor Ortiz and Floyd Mayweather. Here The Heat shares with us what happened in the USA.
The trip to the USA was great. I was actually approached by an Irish manager named Gary Hyde who is based in the States. Right after the Matthew Hatton fight I realised things in South Africa were not working out for me. As a world champion I cannot be fighting once a year. I need to be managed properly and I want to be managed in the States. Gary and I met up in Los Angeles and I made my decision there and then. At this stage it looks like I’ll be defending my title in Dubai in October on a Golden Boy Promotions show. I got to meet some of the top guys from Top Rank and Golden Boy while I was over there like De La Hoya, Ortiz and Mayweather.
I’ve been asked what my signing with Gary Hyde does to my relationship with Damian Michael. I want to make it very clear that this is not the end of my relationship with Michael and if Showpony Promotions wants me on a show and they can pay me what I ask for then I’ll be there. Peter Smith will continue to be my trainer so I would like to just repeat that I haven’t signed with any promoter but instead with a manager.
I think I’ve done well in my career so far. My only loss was a defeat in Serbia and honestly I thought Nikola Stevanovic only won four rounds so in my heart I’m still undefeated. My last four fights have all been good wins. Bongani Mwelase was a Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Kaizer Mabuza, had just beaten Kendall Holt before I faced him and I must tell you the Americans were very impressed that I was able to overcome Sebastian Lujan. The Americans rate Lujan and I think Matthew Hatton was also an impressive name that I’ve managed to beat. I know I have my critics but if I look at how my career has progressed I must say I feel I’m headed in the right direction.
I genuinely believe the welterweight division is there for my taking. I’m still young at 26. When I’m 28, 29, 30 I’m going to peak and be at my best. A lot of the top guys in the division are on their way out but I see myself fighting these guys now or later. Victor Ortiz is 26 and Andre Berto is pushing 30 so I see myself battling these guys in the next few years for welterweight domination.
VAN HEERDEN FAST FACTS
Chris Van Heerden was born on 19 June 1987.
Van Heerden has lost just once in his career so far.
Nikola Stevanovic earned a SD12 win over The Heat in Belgrade, Serbia in 2010.
Van Heerden defeated Kaizer Mabuza in 2011 to win the IBO Welterweight belt.
The Heat has successfully defended his IBO title twice now.