Idols to rivals! Could Benn face Khan after Van Heerden knockout?


mir Khan appeared understandably reluctant when quizzed about a potential future showdown with Conor Benn on Saturday night.

Returning to the scene of his comprehensive February defeat by arch-rival Kell Brook at Manchester’s AO Arena, Khan had a ringside seat for the formidable Benn’s second-round demolition of former IBO world champion Chris van Heerden.

Benn is set for a big step up this summer after sending another emphatic message to the welterweight division and improving his unblemished professional record to 21-0 on the same night that Errol Spence Jr and Yordenis Ugas square off in a huge 147lbs unification clash in Texas.

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Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn again namechecked the likes of Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, David Avanesyan and Mikey Garcia as potential future opponents for WBA continental champion Benn, who will have his eyes firmly fixed on a marquee contest back in London to help line up a future world title challenge.

A bout with Brook has also been mooted, but it seems as if another high-profile domestic dust-up between the former IBF welterweight champion and Chris Eubank Jr is more likely, with Brook yet to confirm his future plans or if indeed he intends to fight again after finally settling his long-running rivalry with Khan.

Khan, meanwhile, was asked into the ring after watching Benn demolish veteran South African southpaw Van Heerden and inevitably faced questions over a meeting with ‘The Destroyer’, having yet to decide himself if he will retire after losing to Brook.

“I’ve come here just to enjoy the champ, enjoy the boxing,” Khan – who faced loud boos from the Manchester crowd – told DAZN. “Eddie told me to get in the ring. I just want to enjoy it, just like everyone else enjoyed it today.

“I’m a boxing fan, the champ put on a great performance there. Look, I’m sure he will go far in life. He’s got a brilliant career and we can only support him.

“At the moment I’m spending time with the family. Who knows? I might announce something tomorrow, I might announce something in the next couple of months.”

A smiling Benn interjected with “money always talks”, before Khan responded: “I made a lot of money in the game. I think it’s just about enjoying this time off at the moment.

Benn needed less than four minutes to demolish Van Heerden in Saturday’s main event

/ Getty Images

“Once that hunger comes back again, let’s see where we go from here.”

Benn added: “It’s no disrespect on our part, if I achieve half of what this man achieved I’ll be happy. He’s a world champion. Idols to rivals.

“Every young up and coming fighter wants to challenge themselves against the best, who they were at the time. So that’s all that is, challenges.”

Asked again if he would want the fight with Benn, Khan replied: “He’s a young hungry lion. Who knows? Do the people want to see the fight? It’s tough.

“He’s a great champ, let’s see what happens. At the moment like I said, I’m just enjoying my time off. I’m going to get back in the gym again, this is great motivation.”

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