Conor Benn has blasted back at Chris van Heerden’s assessment of his boxing ability, insisting he will make the South African respect him with “a whole lot of firepower” when the two come head-to-head for the WBA Continental Welterweight title in Manchester on Saturday.
‘The Destroyer’ takes a career 20-0 record into the clash at the AO Arena this weekend, but Van Heerden has labelled Benn an “emotional, angry fighter” as part of a concerted trash-talk assault in the build up to the bout.
And Benn has fired back, claiming Van Heerden will be on the receiving end of a barrage in the 12-round contest.
“He said he doesn’t rate my boxing ability. If you don’t respect me then I’ll make you respect me. Chris van Heerden needs to be ready for a whole lot of firepower. He needs to be ready for someone who fights like he’s got everything to lose,” Benn told Matchroom.
The South African, nicknamed 'The Heat', has only previously been beaten by Errol Spencer Jr in his 32 bouts to date (28 wins - 12 by KO), and he will pose a completely new challenge to the Briton as Benn’s first southpaw opponent.
“Van Heerden is a good fighter, he’s a tricky fighter, he’s a tough fighter. He’s a come-forward southpaw and former world champion. He’s been in there with the best.
“First southpaw opponent - they’re definitely hard work that’s for sure. You have to think a lot more. You have to demonstrate a lot more skill. You can’t just go in there with the same approach as you would with an orthodox fighter.
“He’s wanted this fight for a while. He told me he needed this fight himself, needed it for closure. We’ve made the fight happen. Hopefully he comes prepared, which I believe he will.”
Benn returns to the ring for the first time since defeating former world champion Chris Algieri in Liverpool in December, flooring the American with a huge right in the fourth round.
“It was the most dramatic finish of my career for sure,” added the 25-year-old son of former two-weight world champ Nigel Benn.
“It was great that I was able to put in that performance. I just went in there with such confidence. Being confident in the ring… you display it in your defence mechanisms, trust in your reflexes, trust in your power.”
“Having my dad ringside and seeing the raw emotion from him was probably the most rewarding thing out of the whole eight-week camp. Even during the fight and the feeling after the fight. Watching that video back was, me watching someone so genuinely happy for me. Nothing but happiness for his son. That for me is so warming. It made me so emotional watching it.”
The fight and the whole event will be broadcast by DAZN worldwide (excluding New Zealand and Australia).
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