Colin Nathan backs Van Heerden against Thurman

Kaizer Mabuza and Chris van Heerden exchange blows during their clash./Sydney Seshibedi
Kaizer Mabuza and Chris van Heerden exchange blows during their clash./Sydney Seshibedi

Successful boxing trainer Colin "Nomakanjani" Nathan has put his full weight behind Chris "The Heat" van Heerden in his pursuit for a showdown with revered former WBA and WBC welterweight holder Keith "One Time" Thurman despite the fact that the 31-year-old American is regarded as the hardest puncher in the welterweight division.

Thurman has been successful since 2007 until he tasted defeat a year ago to Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.

The 41-year-old Filipino icon reiterated his all-time greatness with a stirring 12-round split decision.

It is believed Thurman wants to avenge that loss and is waiting for Pacquiao to commit.

But Van Heerden - the former SA and IBO champion from Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, who is based in California - says Thurman must look towards him if he wants to rumble with another left-hander for now.

World Boxing News quoted Van Heerden saying: "I'm a perfect matchup for Keith Thurman right now. If he were to fight Pacquiao again or Errol Spence Jr, . all southpaws, I'm the perfect guy. Plus, I already fought Spence. Keith hasn't fought in a year; It's perfect for TV. I know I will beat him."

Nathan says the matchup between the self-exiled South African and the highly rated American will be a great fight.

"Keith's loss to Manny was an upset, I believe, so he needs to redeem himself and Chris is a good opponent for that. Chris is also a fringe contender who needs such a big fight."

The man whose success has seen him win BSA's trainer of the year awards two years in succession in 2017 and 2018, added: "This is a situation of one guy wanting to get back to the top position against a guy who wants to impress. Chris must continue pushing and pushing for this fight to happen because I believe it is a fight that can and should be made."

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