South African welterweight contender Chris Van Heerden is determined to succeed in the United States more than ever following the tragic and sudden death of the man who offered him his big opportunity stateside.
King Sports Worldwide boss Michael King died in May from complications after returning from a trip to France with pneumonia at 66. Van Heerden has set about fulfilling the vision his promoter had for him by securing a massive nationally televised fight.
“Since the passing of my Michael King, a man that believed in all his fighters and who wanted us to get to those big fights, I’m motivated and hungry to do what he saw in me,” Van Heerden told World Boxing News on Monday.
“I’m in the top mix and now hoping to land a top TV fight in honor of Mr. King. I believe I’m so close to doing what I came out to the USA as I gave up everything back home in South Africa to follow my dream in boxing. I want to fight against a top name in the USA on a TV network, somewhere that will be big enough for the whole of my country back home to see.
“All I need is an opportunity. I know I have what it takes to give a lot of the top fighters a tough time on any given night. I want to make my family proud, I want to make my country proud, and I want to make my late promoter Michael King proud – may his soul rest in peace.”
Van Heerden had been close to facing ex-amateur world champion Frankie Gavin in the United Kingdom until a world title fight came calling for his potential opponent, and ‘The Heat’ is keeping all his options open until the right opportunity comes along.
Currently trained by Freddie Roach, in possession of the IBF International title and a former IBO champion, Van Heerden is on the verge of getting the recognition he craves after racking up four straight wins on US soil.
“I am now rated in the top ten at number eight in the world by IBF, and I’m even more motivated each day as I know that soon enough my chance will come,” added Van Heerden.