IBO world welterweight champion, Chris van Heerden has warned Paul McCloskey not to slip up when he makes his return to the ring in July, or else he will lose his chance of a world title shot in Belfast next September.
The South African (19-1-1) who will take his training camp to New York ahead of the proposed fight with ‘Dudey’, is prepared to put his IBO strap on the line at the Odyssey Arena and feels McCloskey’s slick soutpaw style will bring the best out of him.
‘Dudey’, is scheduled to return to the ring on July 13th in Hull - his first fight since his victory over Manuel Perez last September - and van Heerden claims he will be backing the Dungiven man to do the business on that occassion.
“At this moment, once we sign the fight with Paul I’ll be going to New York in July for some sparring and training in America,” said the South African.
“Paul will be the only fight on my mind and I’ll be setting my training camp up accrodingly. I’m always in the ring so it will be no differnet for me but all I’m hoping is that Paul doesn’t make a slip from me.
“Paul better win in July because if he messes up in July then that’s his chance lost so I’ll be hoping that Paul wins that fight.”
And the IBO champion insists he is excited about the prospect of travelling to McCloskey’s own back yard and won’t be fazed by a the former European champion’s large support.
“It won’t faze me at all to fight in front of so many people,” added the South African. “I will be able to cut myself off from the crowd and it’s not something that will interfere with my performance.
In fact van Heerden, known as ‘The Heat’ claims he will win over the partisan support with his explosive fighting style.
“Mark my words, the crowd will be excited to watch both of us because it’s going to be an exciting fight. I’m sure the crowd will acknoweldege that at some stage through the fight.
“Even though it’s not my home crowd, I’m looking forward to fighting in front of such a large crowd and making new fans, so no, it won’t faze me at all.”
The proposed fight will be 25 year-old van Heerden’s third defence of his International Boxing Organisation title and he predicts it will be one of the best fights of his career against a fighter he rates higher than his last opponent, Matthew Hatton who he defeated in Johannesburg last March.
“My trainer has been studying Paul and I’ve seen a little bit of footage on him as well. I’ve been in the ring with some big hitters so Paul shouldn’t be a problem for me.
“With his style and my style it should be a great fight. As long as I don’t fight a spoiler, if I fight a fighter who brings the best out of me then on the night the clash of styles will make it an unbelieveable fight.
“People are telling me that I’ve picked a fight too big for me. People are telling me that Paul is way better than Matthew Hatton and a lot fitter. So in terms of the boxing critics people are all behind Paul.
“In terms of Paul’s career I think this fight will maximise it even more as he’s getting a shot at the world title and I think this fight will bring the best out of Paul.”