Van Heerden out-points Hatton to retain IBO title

IBO welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden announced himself on the world stage with a decisive points victory over Matthew Hatton at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The South African, who had lost just once controversially previously, took control of the fight from the second round onwards to keep a firm grip on his title belt as Hatton lost a world championship challenge for the third time.

The 24 year-old didn’t mind brawling with the elder Mancunian as both fighters mixed it up in what was a scrappy affair marred by a constant stream of holding by both fighters. Referee Howard Foster was continually involved in the contest as he attempted to break the clinching boxers at every opportunity and once parted, the cleaner work came from the champion.

Both Van Heerden and Hatton were cut in the bout, seemingly from headbutts on the inside as the fight ended with the two fighters looking worse for wear as the twelve rounds were completed.

The judges’ scorecards quite rightly read 118-110, 117-112 and 116-112 to Van Heerden as ‘The Heat’ defended his belt for the second time and Hatton took his record in world title fights to 0-1-2.

On the undercard, former world title challenger Kaizer Mabuza defeated ageing former world champion Isaac Hlatshwayo over eight rounds 79-73 and 78-74 twice.