Kevin Lerena To Return in February, First Defense at Home

JOHANNESBURG – Kevin Lerena will stay at home for his first IBO title defence after an accomplished showing against Youri Kalenga on Saturday night.

Promoter Rodney Berman said that hometown support was critical, especially as the new champion had built up a solid base of fans since turning pro.

“We’ll fight him at Emperors Palace again in February and then possibly take him to America.”


Berman is sitting on gold, given the Lerena package – he’s young, charismatic and entertaining, plus he’s one of the few world-rated cruiserweights outside eastern Europe.

Even so, Berman believes the 25-year-old must still work on his game plan. He noted how Lerena appeared to rock Kalenga on occasion on Saturday, but failed to follow through. Berman wants him to have the confidence to pull the trigger.

“You need to take these opportunities, especially in the heavier divisions where a single punch can change everything,” said Berman.

“But he’s done helluva well. He’s had just 19 fights and no amateur record to speak of. What he’s done is sensational.”

Lerena himself acknowledged the brutal nature of the fight and saluted Kalenga for going toe-to-toe.

“He was very tough, but I used my head; I made him miss. That was the plan.”

Berman also had words of praise for SA welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge, who outboxed Mziwoxolo Ndwayana in his first title defence.

“He’s a special talent and we’ll be looking to the WBC to recognise him,” said Berman, who plans to lure an attractive talent into the ring for Mbenge’s next outing, also in February.

Neither fighter will be particularly rushed. With each having endured 12 hard rounds, the accrued experience will prove invaluable down the track.

Tags: Kevin Lerena image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Gabe Rosado: I Want Canelo, Daniel Jacobs, Lemieux Rematch! Fox: They Think I'm a Chump; I'll Show I Belong Against Andrade Gabe Rosado Batters, Stops Glen Tapia in Sixth Round Gabe Rosado vs. Glen Tapia - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Saunders: Lemieux is GGG's Leftover Dog Meat - I Want The Dog! Video: Abel Sanchez Talks Golovkin vs. Canelo, Gassiev, More Buster Douglas Backs Wilder Over Joshua, Shakes Head at PED Use Gabe Rosado vs. Glen Tapia - LIVE Results From Las Vegas Gassiev: WBSS is Best Way To Unify, Show I'm The Best at Cruiser News: Devin Haney, Shiro vs. Guevara, Reymart Gaballo Machado: Roach Gives Me Confidence, I'm Ready For Corrales Sullivan Barrera vs. Felix Valera Part of HBO Triple on Nov. 25 Video: Richard Schaefer Talks World Boxing Super Series Ronnie Shields: Lara's Style is His Style - I Won't Change it For Critics! Photos: Ruiz vs. Montano - Boxeo Telemundo Weights Milan Melindo vs. Hekkie Budler Rematch Ordered By The IBF Schaefer: WBSS Has Elevated the Entire Cruiserweight Division News: Montgomery Brothers, Ruben Villa, Dutchover, More Demetrius Andrade: Golovkin Beat Canelo - I Want GGG Next! DiBella: Wilder vs. Whyte To Get Joshua is Stupid, Whyte Irrelevant! Photos: Murat Gassiev, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk - Go Face To Face David Haye: If I Beat Bellew, But Scrape Through - I May Retire! Sosa, Castellanos Plan For War on Kovalev vs. Shabrankskyy Card Photos: Joe Joyce, Ian Lewison - Ready For Battle Top Rank on ESPN - Television Ratings, Numbers, Statistics Gabriel Gonzaga Ready For His Pro Boxing Debut Gervonta Davis To Stand Trial on Assault Charge on November 29 Katie Taylor Won't Let Title Opportunity Slip, Hungry To Win Belt David Benavidez: I Wanted Gavril Again To Prove Doubters Wrong Lara: Andrade is Broke, Frustrated & Getting Worse by The Fight Roach: Will Be Hard for Retired Cotto to Resist Canelo-GGG Winner Daily Bread Mailbag: Spence-Thurman, Charlo, Lubin, PEDs, More Joshua Expects Late KO: Takam's Head is a Block of Cement! Steve Collins Granted Licence To Box Again Euro News: Teper-Lazarides, Braekhus-Lauren II, Jamoye Retires Hearn Talks Possibility of Joshua Fighting Overseas in Early 2018 Rob Brant's Promoter Confident Boxer Will Win WBSS at 168 DeGale: Can't Moan Over Canelo-GGG Draw, It Was Close Fight Joshua Backs Bellew To Overcome Haye Again, Win Rematch Burnett-Zhakiyanov: Unification and Foundation

Latest Active Forum Threads