Welterweight Conor Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) made easy work of journeyman Chris Van Heerden (28-3-1, 12 KOs) in stopping him in the second round on Saturday night on DAZN at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
After struggling in the first round, Benn came out strong in the second round, dropping the 34-year-old Van Heerden face-first on the canvas with a beautiful right hand to the head.
Van Heerden was too hurt to get back up, leaving referee Steve Gray with no choice but to halt the fight at 59 seconds of the second.
After the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned wanting to match Benn against 35-year-old Kell Brook next. However, Hearn didn’t sound too optimistic that he can make that fight.
Looking like his old man at times, the lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (7-0, 2 KOs) beat Ezequiel Gregores (3-10) by a six-round points decision. The score was 60-54.
It was an excellent performance from the 21-year-old Hatton, putting his punches together, and looking fierce if not overly powerful. Campbell is still arguably a few years away before he’ll be thrown into the deep end with the sharks in the 135-lb division.
Right now, Campbell is still in the wading pool, treading water, which is good for him to learn the ropes.
IBO/WBC female super featherweight champion Alycia Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) dominated her overmatched opponent Edith Matthysse (17-12-1, 1 KOs), winning a decisive 10 round unanimous decision.
Matthysse came in overweight last Friday at the weigh-in, so she couldn’t compete with Baumgardner’s two titles.
The scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 100-90. This was the first defense for the 27-year-old Baumgardner after dethroning IBO/WBC champion Terri Harper by a fourth-round knockout last November in Sheffield.
Fighting at light heavyweight, Jack Cullen (20-3-1, 9 KOs) ground out an eight-round points decision against Vladimir Belujsky (12-3-1, 8 KOs).
Cullen took the fight to the 26-year-old Belujsky, nailing him with a high number of shots each round, and setting a fast pace that he couldn’t keep up with. The score was 80-72.
Conor Benn, 25, is in an excellent position to capture one of the welterweight titles in early 2023 when champions Errol Spence Jr or Terence Crawford vacate their belts to go up to 154.
Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn is already calling him a “superstar,” but there’s still a long way off before he gets to that level.
Tonight, Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) will show whether he can easily handle the 34-year-old Van Heerden in the same way Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis and Errol Spence Jr. did.
If Benn can dominate the southpaw Van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs) in the same way those fighters did, it’ll give the fans a chance to gauge whether he’s got the talent to capture one of the 147-lb belts when they’re fragmented next year.
Conor Benn razor-sharp
“If we’re talking about Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, these are not part of your DAZN subscription, and this is where we want to get to in terms of big fights,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing King Media when asked about Conor Benn’s next fight in the summer.
“If he’s fighting down the like a Kell Brook, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, yeah, that’s something you might use that [pay-per-view] model for. Conor Benn is a huge star, and we see it in our numbers, we see it across digital and social [media].
“This [Benn vs. Van Heerden] is a really good fight. I said to Conor the other day, ‘Take it as a massive compliment that people see this as an easy fight for you because a year ago, people didn’t even rate you.’
“Did you see the size of Van Heerden? He’s in unbelievable condition. He’s a southpaw, and this will be the first time in Conor Benn’s career [that he will have faced that type of fighter].
“It’s a very tough man with a strong will, and an emotional drive in this fight as well. It’s going to be a very tough fight for Chris Van Heerden in the first three or four rounds.
“If he can get through that stage, it could be really interesting, but Conor is looking razor-sharp and wants to do a job on him. This is everything to him,” said Hearn about Van Heerden.
“This is not someone that is coming over and will get hit to the body and take a knee after four or five rounds,” said Hearn in giving his views on Van Heerden.
Unbeaten welterweight prospect Conor Benn is fighting tonight against journeyman Chris Van Heerden in a 12-round contest at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. DAZN will be streaming the Benn vs. Van Heerden fight card at 2 p.m. ET.