Conor Benn news: Welterweight star confirms his ring return for April 16

Conor Benn continues his quest to challenge for a world title later this year and faces an opponent who has been in the ring with unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr.

Conor Benn will return to the ring to fight South Africa's Chris Van Heerden at the AO Arena, Manchester, on April 16.

The welterweight - who scored a stunning knockout over former world champion Chris Algieri in December - will defend his WBA Continental title looking to continue his climb up the rankings.

'The Destroyer' is in the top 10 of three organisations, including the IBF, and is looking to get closer to challenging for world honours.

"I'm excited to step into the ring with Chris Van Heerden," said Benn. "Van Heerden is a tough operator and a southpaw who will be in there giving it his all in every round.

"For me and my team it's now about fighting every style that we can face as we continue to head towards World Championship status and Van Heerden brings something different to the table than I've not faced before.

"With that being said this is another stepping stone for me on my journey to the top, I haven't seen anything in Van Heerden's previous fights that I can't deal with, and I expect another explosive victory on April 16.

Conor Benn

"If he comes to fight or he wants to box, I can deliver that smoke either way! The AO Arena has to be one of the most exciting venues to fight in. I love Manchester. I get shown a lot of love and support up in Manchester - it's a fighting city. I bring the entertainment every time I fight and I can't wait for April 16."

'The Heat' (28-2-1, 12 KOs), born in Johannesburg, South Africa, previously held the IBO welterweight title from 2011 until 2013, beating Kaizer Mabuza, Sebastian Andres Lujan and Matthew Hatton during his reign.

Now residing in Santa Monica, California, USA, the 34-year-old southpaw is eager to test himself against one of the fastest rising welterweights in world boxing.

"Sometimes it takes 10 years for that one year to come around that completely changes your life," said Van Heerden.

"This is my year. I want to thank Conor Benn for taking the fight, knowing that I'm coming to beat him in his backyard. I also want to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing for taking this risk and my manager Peter Kahn for getting this fight done.

"I am looking forward to putting on a show in Manchester on DAZN."

The undercard sees Bournemouth's European cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith (14-1, 10 KOs) rematch Belfast's former champion Tommy McCarthy (18-3, 9 KOs) following their epic back and forth battle at the Matchroom HQ last summer.

'The Gentleman' withstood a late fightback from McCarthy as he edged out a narrow split points decision to add the British and European Cruiserweight titles to his Commonwealth belt, before defending his EBU crown with a points win over Dylan Bregeon in Sheffield.

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