Boxing Snippets

Kamanga ducks Van Heerden challenge

Headed for the top: Chris van Heerden, here with trainer Colin Nathan, in good spirits after signing with Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves.

SA’s super fight looks like it will have to wait – Paul Kamanga has no interest in fighting former world champion Chris van Heerden.

“He’s gone missing in action,” said a disappointed Van Heerden yesterday. “I can’t say I blame him. He’s a good fighter, but he’s not ready for me.”

Promoter Rodney Berman had hoped to stage the fight in October, but Kamanga baulked.

“I guess he’s chicken,” said Berman, who has always called a spade a spade. “I thought it would be an excellent test as Kamanga is unbeaten, but he must figure Chris presents a danger.”

Fortunately Van Heerden’s fans will see him fight on local soil for the first time in two-and-a-half years as Berman will throw him into a major match-up in October. It’s a homecoming of sorts for the 29-year-old, who has been based in the US in recent years.

The southpaw will soon be heading back to Santa Monica, but will return to SA four weeks before his next fight and hook up with Colin Nathan.

The trainer is thrilled. “Chris is a great guy to have around. He’s a real hard worker and a pleasure to deal with. A fight against Kamanga would have been very good. Only Kamanga can say why he doesn’t want it. If he doesn’t sign, people can decide for themselves. I’m just looking forward to getting Chris ready for his next assignment.”

Van Heerden has worked hard to build a profile in the US, highlighted by topping a Roy Jones bill in Las Vegas, but his career stumbled after the sudden death of his promoter, Michael King. Even so, he’s spent day after day in the gym, always ready for the next call to action.

His hunger to fight earned him a headline gig against Errol Spence and he also had a high-profile sparring session against MMA main man Conor McGregor. Van Heerden’s best promoter has been himself and his social media profile reflects a man whose mission it is to be noticed.


“I can’t wait to fight in South Africa again,” he said yesterday. “Rodney has been good to me through the years and if you’re a serious boxer, there’s only one guy to be with. We’ve been talking on and off for about a year.

“I wanted to fight Kamanga, who I respect. But I’ve heard the stories he’s been telling about how he’ll walk all over me. That’s fine, I’ll fight him, but he’s not ready for me. I’m here – let’s do it! Unfortunately he’s gone missing in action . . . he wants to protect his unbeaten record and I want to beat him up to get his rating.”

The likelihood is that Van Heerden may soon be back for good. He and Berman have spoken of a longer-term deal, depending on how October works out.

“My energy levels are great and I feel like a young 29-year-old. I reckon I have four or five good years left. I want to make the most of them,” says the man relentlessly chasing his dreams.


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