Conor Benn edges closer to welterweight elite with second-round knockout of Chris van Heerden

Conor Benn moved one step closer to welterweight boxing’s elite with another display of his ruthless finishing in a two-round destruction of Chris van Heerden on Saturday.

The England contender continued his knockout form at Manchester Arena, England, hours before the triple world title fight between champion rivals Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugas in the United States.

“I keep replacing them. Left-handed, orthodox… I take care of them,” Benn said. “If you want British servants, we’ll have [Kell] stream or [Amir] Khan, otherwise we will continue for the world titles. I’ll leave the matchmaking to the promoters, I’ll just iron them out.”

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn says Benn should face a step up in class when he fights again this summer.

“When you tear down opposition like that, you have to take big leaps,” Hearn said. “Now we have to step up the opposition. Now is the time for more serious players.”

Amir Khan, also from England, then joined Benn in the ring, but the former junior welterweight said he was unsure if he would continue after a six-round loss to Kell Brook, l 10-year-old former IBF welterweight world champion. older than Brook.

Benn, based in Essex, England (21-0, 14 KO), 25, who grew up in Spain and Australia, is trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, Nigel Benn, who reigned as world champion middleweight and super middleweight in the 1990s, and has made impressive progress over the past two years.

Van Heerden (28-3-1, 12 KO), 34, from Johannesburg, South Africa, and based in California, was stopped in eight rounds by Spence in 2015, two years before the American became world champion. After beating former world champion Chris Algieri in four sets in December, Benn produced an even quicker stoppage against van Heerden.

Southpaw van Heerden, who began his professional career when Benn was 9, entered the ring with only one round of action since August 2019 (a fight against top contender Jaron Ennis was stopped after one round due to van Heerden suffering from a cut in the December 2020 bout).

But the South African showed no signs of ring rust in a ferocious first round, with both landing big shots.

But van Heerden, who had “Dad” on the top of his shorts – his father, Daniel, was killed in South Africa in 2018 – quickly collapsed in the second round when he was shaken by a straight right hand . Benn followed with van Heerden leaning against the ropes, and a slashing right hand left the South African boxer on the canvas.

Chris Billam-Smith passed Tommy McCarthy in the eighth round to defend his European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles and move closer to a world title.

Billam-Smith, who is ranked No. 3 with the IBF and WBO governing bodies, produced a sustained attack and finished McCarthy with a right hand in the eighth round of a fight he had begun to dominate . Billam-Smith (15-1, 11 KOs), 31, of Bournemouth, England, beat McCarthy (18-4, 9 KOs), 31, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, by a split decision in July from last year – but it was even more impressive. McCarthy started well, landing two heavy overhand right hands in round two, but Billam-Smith landed a series of blows in round four, including a left hook that rocked McCarthy on the bell.

Billam-Smith, who is a sparring partner and gym mate of WBO world champion Lawrence Okolie, continued to press from then on and unloaded a series of hard punches when McCarthy was on the ropes in the eighth , before the Northern Irishman was dispatched. falling forward and stopped after a final right hand.