Chris van Heerden has always dreamed of fighting Matthew Hatton
WHILE IBO welterweight champion Chris van Heerden admitted he has always dreamed of fighting Matthew Hatton, and he'll get his chance on March 2 at South Africa's Sandton Convention Centre.
The Johannesburg native revealed that in his early days as a professional he watched Hatton fight on television and forever hoped to step into the ring with the former European champion.
"As I said at the press conference, it's an honour for me to finally have this fight," said van Heerden. "I respect him; I've got big, big respect for Hatton. He's a tough customer and I know he'll be coming to fight.
"I've always believed the main winner of this fight will be the fans. It promises to be an exciting evening and it's on the lips of everyone in South Africa."
During the build-up to the clash, Hatton claimed despite his losses to Kell Brook and Saul Alvarez, the experience of those fights indicates he has boxed at a higher level.
Van Heerden admitted: "Yes, of course, Brook and Alvarez are a level above anything I have faced, but let's not forget I schooled Kasier Mabuza, a former world champion who stopped Kendall Holt in America.
"And despite the fact that everyone said Sebastien Lujan was a 50/50 fight for me, I schooled him as well. Hatton didn't even come close to beating Alvarez."
He continued: "But at the end of the day I don't bother looking at records. Every opponent is different but I feel my skill, youth and fitness will be too much for Hatton."
Fighting on home soil could be another advantage for Van Heerden, especially when you consider the brunt of the 10,000 fans in Sandton will be on his side.
The only time he has boxed away from home was in 2010, when he lost his undefeated record to Nikola Stevanovic in Serbia.
However, the 25-year-old claims that his overwhelming support is not something he is considering before he tackles Hatton.
"I don't look at it that way. It's only going to be the two of us in the ring so once the bell sounds nobody else can help me. For me, the crowd isn't something that goes through my mind during a fight.
"I've seen the layout for the venue, though, and it looks brilliant. There's going to be a lot of people coming from Manchester to support Hatton and we'll be turning the arena into a mini-Vegas."
Courtsey of Boxing News: http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/view-Article.asp?ArticleID=2290