Conor Benn makes light work of Chris van Heerden in Manchester

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Conor Benn bolstered his case for a world title shot by stopping Chris van Heerden inside two rounds at Manchester’s AO Arena.

Benn had been expected to dispose of the experienced South African after producing some impressive performances over the last 18 months.

The 25-year-old welterweight duly delivered by taking out Van Heerden inside four minutes to extend his unblemished record to 21-0.

Conor Benn beat Chris van Heerden quickly
Conor Benn beat Chris van Heerden quickly (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It’s easy money. It’s violent money but it’s easy money,” Benn, the son of former middleweight and super-middleweight world champion Nigel, told BBC Radio 5 Live after his quickfire win.

“This is what I do. I love it. They can put me in there with King Kong, I’m not really fazed.

“I’ll back it up every single time. I knew I was going to knock him out, it was just a matter of time.”

Benn was joined in the ring after the fight by former world champion Amir Khan to fuel talk of a prospective fight between the two men.

Conor Benn (left) is congratulated by Amir Khan
Conor Benn (left) is congratulated by Amir Khan (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I saw some reports that he fancied a fight with me,” Benn said. “So I thought this was a chance (for him) to express that, but he didn’t seem too keen.

“That’s the promoter’s job, but if they offered me a world title fight next we’d take it.”

The 34-year-old Van Heerden had not fought since December 2020, but his southpaw stance presented a different challenge to one of British boxing’s hottest prospects.

Both men were busy in the opening round and Benn’s aggression caused Van Heerden early problems, with strong right and left hands to his opponent’s temple.

But the South African settled and started to find his rhythm as the first three minutes drew to a close.

It was a false sense of security, however, as Benn sent a couple of vicious short-range upper cuts through Van Heerden’s defence.

Van Heerden crashed to the canvas and the referee waved the contest off after just 59 seconds of the second stanza.

Benn has been linked with a bout against Kell Brook following his win over Khan last month.

Conor Benn (centre), trainer Tony Sims (second right) and promotor Eddie Hearn
Conor Benn (centre), trainer Tony Sims (second right) and promotor Eddie Hearn (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “It took Conor Benn all of one round to get used to the southpaw stance of Chris van Heerden and he destroyed him.

“He is the most exciting fighter in the country and now is the time for a big name this summer.

“We’d like Kell Brook to establish the best welterweight in Britain – and I think that’s Conor.

“But there’s a lot of elite welterweights out there and that’s the step that has to be taken.

“It’s time to take off the L plates and let Conor go into elite world level.

“When he started he was a gimme. He was Nigel Benn’s son. Now Nigel Benn is Conor Benn’s dad.

“He’s the real deal and there’s a lot of big fights to look forward to.”

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