By Francisco Salazar
Welterweight contender Chris Van Heerden fought all of one fight in 2013.
After migrating to the United States, finding and training with a solid coach, and working with an ambitious promoter, Van Heerden could be fighting for the third time this year.
And it is not even midway through 2014.
Not to mention he is getting quality sparring, something he would probably not have gotten had he remained in his native South Africa.
As if Van Heerden (21-1, 11 KOs) does not have enough on his plate in preparation for a possible fight in June or July, he travels from his Santa Monica, CA home to the famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. It is there where he is used as a sparring partner for Miguel Cotto, who is in preparation for a June 7th clash against Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
He has been in sparring with Cotto for the last two weeks or so.
“I’m very excited,” Van Heerden told Boxingscene.com in a recent interview. “Who would’ve thought at this time a year ago I would be sparring the likes of Miguel Cotto? Aside from sparring Cotto, I have gotten great sparring where I train at (The Rock Gym in Carson). This is definitely where I want to be at.”
Van Heerden, who works with longtime Southern California-based trainer Manuel Robles, is coming off a 10 round split decision over Ray Nahr at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on April 16th. He has now won his last seven fights in a row.
While he is still getting acclimated to the fight game in the United States, he believes he can make not only for good fights, but could be in the mix in the welterweight division.
He is biding his time for an eventual big money or television fight. Once he is ready, he believes he can be a force to be reckoned with.
“I’ve gotten so much better since I’ve been working with Manny,” said Van Heerden, who is promoted by King Sports Worldwide. “This (Southern California) is the place to get better and I have.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxng