Having enjoyed his time on local soil and picking up the IBO welterweight title in the process, the 26-year-old, who has won 19 fights, lost once and has one draw, has made the bold move to relocate to the United States.
“I’m nervous and excited at the same time,” Van Heerden, who will be lost to South African boxing fans for three years having inked a promotional deal for that period, said yesterday.
The move means that Van Heerden has been forced to relinquish his status as the International Boxing Organisation’s champion but it’s a move that he hopes will pave the way to higher honours in future.
“I had to vacate my title but I feel it is a move that will pay off for me. If you look at all the big names, they all vacated the IBO belt before going on to big things and I hope that in the near future it will be the same for me,” he said.
The boxer, who also trades under the name of “The Heat”, will base himself in Los Angeles and will train with Manny Garcia ahead of his first fight – scheduled for February with an opponent yet to be named – before moving on to Robert Garcia, who trains the likes of Nonito Donaire, Mikey Garcia and Brandon Rios for further education.
“You have to step out of your comfort zone to achieve your dreams and go to a place where it’s you against the world,” he said.