Kevin Lerena makes bold move to heavyweight division.
The speculation started when Lerena’s name appeared at number 25 on Boxrec’s heavyweight world ratings. Technically, his last fight was as a heavyweight since it took place at a catchweight above the cruiserweight limit.
It is an open secret that making cruiserweight has been a challenge for Lerena and with the WBC’s bridgerweight division still struggling to take flight, it is now official: Lerena is giving up his IBO cruiserweight world title and moving to heavyweight.
He is recovering well from a broken right hand that sank his fight with Ryad Merhy and his debut in the glamour division is likely to be on the Golden Gloves card planned for February 2022.
No doubt inspired by the master class delivered by fellow southpaw and former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, when he relieved Anthony Joshua of his world heavyweight titles, Lerena will be looking to emulate the Ukrainian in the future.
Heavyweights are bigger than ever before, and critics will no doubt point at Lerena’s small size when compared to behemoths like Tyson Fury and Joshua, who stand six foot nine (2,06m) and six foot six (1,98m) in their socks, respectively. Lerena, in comparison, tops out at a mere six foot one (1,85m).
When speaking of cruiserweights having success at heavyweight, there can be none greater than Evander Holyfield. After becoming undisputed cruiserweight champion, he moved to heavyweight and became the only four-time heavyweight champion in history during one of the most competitive eras bar the seventies. A modern great, “The Real Deal” was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014.
Another former cruiserweight who managed to win a heavyweight title, was David Haye. The brash Brit outpointed the giant seven-footer Nikolai Valuev in 2009 in Germany and was part of some big heavyweight fights in his career.
Can Lerena do it? Time will tell.