Conor Benn may have starched his last overmatched veteran, according to his promoter.
Benn, the hard hitting British welterweight, picked up another emphatic win Saturday night at Manchester Arena in England with a second-round stoppage over southpaw Chris van Heerden, who has seen better days. Benn staggered van Heerden with a straight right and then followed up with a combination from which the South African never recovered.
Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn realizes that the pressure to deliver a significant, challenging fight for Benn is now greater than ever. Although Benn, the son of British boxing great Nigel Benn, has managed to step out of his father’s shadow in the past year with dominant performances, highlighting his punching prowess, he has also been criticized for showcasing those abilities against mostly faded contenders in Adrian Granados, Chris Algieri, and Samuel Vargas.
After the fight, Hearn acknowledged the increased burden of trying to put together a challenging and lucrative fight for his rising client.
“We understand the way he’s demolishing these people, we have to step up the opposition now,” Hearn told IFL TV. “And he’s ready, as far as I’m concerned. He’s ready for those big guys in the next step. But we still have a long way to go. You got to trust us a little bit that we’re gonna do it right with Conor Benn because I don’t see many other stars in British boxing at his age that have the potential to be as big as he is.”
In the post-fight interview inside the ring, Hearn named a slew of American welterweight contenders as an ideal step-up opponent for Benn (21-0, 14 KOs), including Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, and Adrien Broner, and also noted he would want such a fight to take place at The O2 Arena in London, one of the largest event venues in the U.K.
“The progression of Conor Benn has been tremendous,” Hearn said after the bout. “He’s boxed all over the country. Great crowd in Liverpool last time out. Great crowd in Manchester tonight as well. This is a true star in British boxing. This could be a global star.
“This is an elite world welterweight fighter. He’s gonna be a world champion. Now we have to set up the opposition. Great development: Vargas, Granados, Algieri, Van Heerden. Now it’s time for the more serious players in the division…I’m talking about Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, all these guys, David Avanesyan. We want a big fight, a marquee fight, and finally take him back to London and fill up that beautiful O2 as well.”