The South African southpaw, who missed out on an agreed fight with Paul McCloskey in the last few weeks, has now turned his attention to the Ukrainian in the hope of negotiating a deal in the US or somewhere in Europe away from Senchenko’s home comforts.
Van Heerden, 26, has struggled to nail down higher profile opponents since claiming the IBO belt two years ago and hopes that striking a deal with Senchenko will be the first step on the ladder to increasing his reputation worldwide.
“Senchenko would be a great name for me to beat seeing that he is a former WBA champion, so I am hopeful we can work this out,” Van Heerden told World Boxing News.
“I want to get the respect I feel I deserve and beating a former world champion can get me that respect.”
36 year-old Senchenko has something on common with ‘The Heat’ due to the fact that both fighters defeated a Hatton brother in their last fight, although Van Heerden was keen to remind his potential opponent who came through more convincingly.
“I believe Senchenko was on his way losing against a “C Class” Ricky Hatton before Ricky ran out of gas, whilst I beat Matthew easily,” he pointed out. “I will be too quick, too fit and too strong for Senchenko.”
At the moment, contact is at the earliest of stages, although one of the main points to the deal getting off the ground would be both fighters giving up their right to home advantage.
A controversial loss in Serbia to Nikola Stevanovic remains the only blemish on Van Heerden’s record and as most thought he did enough to win that bout, the talented fighter is keen to avoid the same thing happening to him again against Senchenko.
“For me, the fight has to be on neutral ground,” emphasised Van Heerden.
“If he wants to try and take my belt I would prefer the fight in America, although I would be open to Germany or anywhere but the Ukraine.
“If Senchenko is a man – he will man up and take the fight. All I want is the chance to prove myself against the top fighters and hopefully I will get it this year.”