IBF International welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden has revealed his disappointment to WBN as speculation continues to grow that May 9 opponent Frankie Gavin is set to pull out of their contest.
The South African was sounded out by Gavin’s promoter Eddie Hearn to headline with the former amateur world champion’s in his hometown of Birmingham next month and was looking forward to making his debut in the United Kingdom.
Van Heerden is now facing up to the possibility that the fight will not go ahead as planned, despite weeks of preparation already, as Gavin was put forward by the IBF for an eliminator with Timothy Bradley and then rumoured to be discussing a potential immediate world title shot against stablemate Kell Brook on May 30.
It’s all left a sour taste in the mouth as the 27 year-old former IBO title holder awaits confirmation from the parties involved that his contracted encounter with Gavin will still go ahead as planned at the Barclaycard Arena.
“I feel I’m being disrespected big time as I’ve been putting in the hard training every day and spending my money on training to get ready,” Van Heerden exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I’ve only been good and worked with Hearn’s offers and respected everything about this fight only to now be left on standby!
“Things like this are what is killing boxers as their hunger, drive and passion can be affected by fights falling apart. Frankie Gavin and I, we had a fight set, and now food is being taken away from my table. I’m being disrespected here.
“Gavin has not done what I’ve done as I’ve beaten tough fighters like Mabuza, Mwelasi, Hatton and McCalla, but I’m keeping the faith and soon my break will come. I’ll be getting my big fight sooner rather than later.
“Never the less, if Gavin fights Brook good luck to him and God bless them both. If Gavin gets to slip me this time, he should be warned that I will catch him down the line!”
‘The Heat’ heard of the IBF’s offer to Gavin on the WBN website yesterday and reacted by questioning how Gavin is even above him in the rankings.
“Gavin lost recently and I have the IBF International belt, but I guess the IBF have him ranked higher than me,” he said.
IBF Chairman Lindsey Tucker has already clarified that Van Heerden would miss out on taking Gavin’s place even if his UK rival turns down a fight with Bradley and finalizes a deal to challenge Brook in London.
“I had originally approved Frankie Gavin versus Chris Van Heerden for the number two spot,” Tucker told WBN.” “Now Gavin has the opportunity to fight Bradley for the number one spot. If he doesn’t take it we will not contact Van Heerden because he is ranked number 13. Instead we would go to the number six fighter Shawn Porter,” he added.
A final explanation on what happens with Gavin going forward is expected from Matchroom Boxing imminently.
Editor’s update: Frankie Gavin failed to accept the Tim Bradley fight by the given deadline and so the IBF will now offer Shawn Porter the eliminator.