By Phil D Jay
IBO welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden is hoping a victory over former world title challenger Matthew Hatton will raise his profile significantly enough to seal a unification fight with WBA belt holder Paulie Malignaggi in 2013.
The 25 year-old will fight the younger Hatton brother on February 2nd at the Nelson Mandela Boxing Tribute in Cape Town, South Africa and is aware that the one-time European title holder will be his toughest test to date.
“This fight is a new step for me as opponents like Hatton are the key to taking me to a new level,” Van Heerden told World Boxing News.
“Fighting Hatton is firstly, a big honour for me and I fully respect him as a boxer. He has been around for a long time and deserves another shot at a world title.
“The sad thing is that I will simply beat him, as I am too young, hungry and too damn quick for him, although I know the fight with Hatton will be a war!”
‘The Heat’ has called out two-weight world champion Malignaggi in the recent past, something that the New Yorker shrugged off after claiming not to know who Van Heerden was. The South African is now ready to show the ‘Magic Man’ what he is made of in the hope of setting up a two-belt contest, possibly in the United States next summer.
“Maybe after I beat Hatton, the man Pauline Malignaggi (WBA champion) will accept my challenge for a unification,” stated the 18-1 title holder.
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net