By Scott Gilfoid: Chris Van Heerden is saying that he’s one of Amir Khan’s potential opponents for his April 21st comeback at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Van Heerden (25-2-1, 12 KOs) says he’s leading the pack of potential opponents for Khan to fight on April 21.
Khan’s promoter Eddie Hearn says there’s a 12-man list of fighters that are being picked from for Khan’s comeback fight on April 21. There are 4 names that are known on Khan’s 12-fighter list and those are Antonio DeMarco, Sammy Vasquez, Adrian Granados and Josesito Lopez. Van Heerden, 31, appears to be the 5th name.
Van Heerden hasn’t fought in 15 months since his 12 round unanimous decision win over Sacky Shikikutu (22-4-1, 13 KOs) on October 22, 2016. Normally that would make Van Heerden an undesirable option for a comeback fight, but given that we’re talking about the ring rusty Khan, he’s perfect for him. Van Heerden isn’t much of a puncher. His last knockout came in November 2009 in stopping journeyman Venance Mponji (20-17-3, 10 Kos) in the 1st round, which makes him an ideal pick for the 31-year-old Khan.
Hearn doesn’t want to risk having Khan knocked out by anyone at this early stage of his 3-fight comeback with his Matchroom Sport stable. Hearn is trying to setup a big money fight between Khan and Kell Brook for later this year, and the last thing he needs is for him to be knocked out in his tune-up fight on April 21 in Liverpool. Khan has some bad experiences in the past in his tune-up fights against Briedis Prescott and Julio Diaz. Prescott knocked Khan out in the 1st round in 2008, and Diaz came close to beating him in their fight in April 2013.
Here’s what Van Heerden had to say about Khan on his Instagram:
”RUMOR has it my phone might ring!!!!! Woke up to a buzzing phone with news that i am on the Short list of Boxers to fight Amir Khan in UK next and by sources. I’m leading the race!!! Well my phone is ON and with me 24/7 You can phone now! I have only Respect for Khan (the man has done it all his achievements speaks volumes and real boxing lovers would agree with me) it would be an Honor for me to travel to UK as it has always been my bucket list/Dream to fight in front of thousands of the most passionate Boxing fan ever in my opinion!!!! LET’S GO!!! #VanHeerdenKhan #Amirkhan #TheHeat #🇿🇦🇬🇧 #Boxing.”
Van Heerden has only 2 defeats during his 12-year career in losses to Errol Spence Jr. and Nikoa Stevanovic. Van Heerden’s best wins have come against Ray Narh, Cecil McCalla, Ramon Ayala, Steve Claggett, Sebastian Lujan, Cosme Rivera, Matthew Hatton and Kaizer Mabuza. Some of those guys would give Khan all kinds of trouble. Those are decent 2nd tier guys.
If Khan wants to interest his UK boxing fans with his first fight of his comeback, he’ll probably need to go in another direction for his April 21 fight rather than taking on Van Heerden. That’s not to say that Van Heerden isn’t a good option. I think he’s a good fighter, and he’d give Khan a lot of problems. If Khan wants to get his fans to take notice of his comeback fight, he’s probably better off going in the direction of Josesito Lopez, Granados, Vazquez or DeMarco.