Van Heerden, 27, hooked up with Roach following a spell as Miguel Cotto’s sparring partner, with the coach being impressed by what he saw in the once-beaten former IBO welterweight champion.
‘The Heat’ gave Cotto the ideal preparation for his big victory over Sergio Martinez last June in New York as the new WBC middleweight title holder continued his resurrection under the guidance of Roach.
Still pinching himself at being under the tutelage of such an esteemed figure as ex-fighter Roach, Van Heerden is intent on making the most of the opportunity when he returns to the ring this fall.
“Just listening to Freddie when he speaks and the way he thinks is amazing to me,” Van Heerden exclusively told World Boxing News on Tuesday.
“I mean, the way he reads your movement and explains what you should do is mind blowing. Being in the gym and having Freddie around watching you as you train is motivating enough, but when you know he will actually be in your corner on fight night – you just want to do better and succeed all the time.
“For me as a boxer from Meyerton it’s a huge achievement to even be associated with Freddie Roach. My friends and family back home are amazed and have really been a big support to me.
“This is the most important part of my career to have Freddie on board and I am excited as my journey continues with him and King Sport Promotion. I am proudly to say that I am a South African now training in Hollywood with the great Freddie Roach,” he added.
The likeable southpaw was pencilled in to make his US TV debut last month on ShoBox, although was forced to cancel because of an injury and is now just awaiting the green light for what will be his 24th pro outing.
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