By Ryan Maquiñana
Chris Van Heerden has quietly put together a seven-bout winning streak, which continued Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif., with a split decision win over veteran Ray Narh.
“I started getting loose. Ray Narh is a heavy puncher, and his record speaks for itself,” Van Heerden told BoxingScene.com. “He’s got 21 knockouts in 26 fights. The kid can punch. I was a bit cautious.”
Van Heerden (21-1-1, 11 KOs), a welterweight up-and-comer from Meyerton, South Africa, is a southpaw who doesn’t mind letting his hands go on the inside to achieve his objective. His latest victory was a battle of attrition where he and Narh took turns scoring until one man wilted.
“As the rounds went on, putting the pressure on would slow him down, and around the fourth or fifth (round), my punches started getting him.”
Van Heerden credited his corner for conjuring up the right game plan.
“I’ve been here for four months now, and I’ve been training with Manny Robles,” he said. “Manny’s good to work with. It showed.”
The South African’s transcontinental journey to Southern California was no accident, as entertainment mogul Michael King has signed him to a promotional contract.
“I’m with King World Promotions,” Van Heerden said. “I’m with the right management team. They’ll build me up. I will sit down with them at the end of the week and get the news for what’s next.”
Van Heerden is over his only pro defeat, a split decision loss to Nikola Stevanovic in 2011.
“I fought in (Serbia),” the southpaw said. “I thought I won the fight, but somehow it was a split decision. I got robbed, but it’s done. I’m here.”
Now in America, Van Heerden is looking to work his way up the ladder. One name came to mind as he was watching last Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley II undercard.
“I wish Jessie Vargas didn’t go down to 140 (pounds),” Van Heerden said after watching Vargas beat Khabib Allakhverdiev for a junior welterweight title belt. “I really wanted to fight him. That would have been a really great fight with my style.”
In the meantime, Van Heerden is willing to let the process run its course as the 26-year-old revealed his timetable to challenge a top 10 welterweight.
“Give me six to 12 months to get another fight under my name, to get another win,” he said. “I’m not in a big rush. We’ll take our time, but we’ll get there.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine's Ratings Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.com or follow him on Twitter@RMaq28.Tags: Ray Narh , Chris Van Heerden