It’s my time for ‘Gutter Dog’ Kevin Lerena against ‘beast’ Daniel Dubois

The 30-year-old Johannesburg southpaw Kevin Lerena will challenge Britain’s Daniel Dubois for his WBA (Regular) belt on December 3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Picture supplied

The 30-year-old Johannesburg southpaw Kevin Lerena will challenge Britain’s Daniel Dubois for his WBA (Regular) belt on December 3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Picture supplied

Published Oct 29, 2022


Cape Town - Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena has waited 11 years to contend for a world heavyweight title, and now it’s within touching distance.

The 30-year-old Johannesburg southpaw will challenge Britain’s Daniel Dubois for his WBA (Regular) belt on December 3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

Lerena has toiled away in the cruiserweights since making his pro debut in 2011, and he defended his IBO title six times before opting to move up to the top division of the sport.

Three bouts later, and he’s on the undercard of Tyson Fury v Derek Chisora.

“This is what we dreamed of, and this is what we worked for. It’s been pretty surreal in the time-frame that it happened, but it’s just another fight for me, and I must do what I do best,” Lerena told Independent Media after the fight was confirmed last week by British promoter Frank Warren.

“It’s an incredible venue. I’m just really excited. It’s pretty surreal – a guy from Johannesburg, South Africa is on the posters all over Tottenham Stadium … You couldn’t have written a better script. I’m just grateful to be in this position.

“(I’m the) ‘Gutter boy from Joburg’ – no easy upbringing, no silver spoon, so it was hard to get where we are.

“The most important thing is how you win, and my last [few] heavyweight fights, I’ve won very well. I beat Mariusz Wach … a complete shut-out. He never put anything on me, and he went the distance with (Wladimir) Klitschko and Dillian Whyte.

“So, it shows you the level of boxing, where we’re at. It’s about opportunity, and now my opportunity has come. But the whole time, the opportunity hadn’t come – I had to bash the doors down and make the opportunity come.

“So, it’s been a bit of bashing doors and making it happen, and also right place, right time – it’s my time now.”

It’s the biggest fight of his career, as a victory in London will take him closer to the “top dogs” of the sport, such as WBC champion Fury, Ukrainian powerhouse Oleksandr Usyk – the holder of the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles – and Anthony Joshua.

Lerena, though, understands he can’t look past the imposing figure of 25-year-old Briton Dubois, who stands at 1.96m and 110kg, and will have a weight and reach advantage over the South African, who is 1.85m and about 106kg.

But he handled the even bigger Polish boxer Wach (2.02m, 122kg) in his last fight in September, which he won on points.

“You’ve got to be versatile. He is a big puncher, so getting off the centre line and just keeping him off balance. The biggest thing is that a puncher can only punch when they can set their feet,” Lerena said.

“And if you can keep him off balance, you take away his punch. So, I am going to have to do that until I get the victory: either a knockout or a 12-round decision – I am going to have to keep him very off balance.

“(My athleticism) would be a big asset that I am going to bring. But this is heavyweight boxing – everyone is fit and athletic.

“Listen, he’s a big man, he’s strong, he’s got a big punch – there’s no doubt about that. They say he’s a beast, and I believe that. But a beast needs to set his feet to hit … I’m too fast, I’m too tenacious, I’m way too slick for him.”

Lerena, who is part of Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves stable, hopes to emulate SA boxers Fransie Botha and Corrie Sanders, who won heavyweight titles as well.

“The last (true) world champion from South Africa was Corrie Sanders in the heavyweight division in 2003, so this is history. No South African has challenged for a world title since then, so we are making history. It’s pretty surreal, as it’s overwhelming – but at the same time, it’s real,” Lerena said.

“It could’ve come sooner, but it’s coming at the right time. I believe I am in my prime now – peak performance, peak condition. Mentally, in the strongest space I’ve ever been in. So, let’s go to war on the third of December. Co-event with Tyson Fury against Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – it’s pretty amazing.

“I’ve just come off a fight and I am pretty much match-fit, and now it’s just about taking that general fitness slightly higher.

“We’re currently in the process of bringing in two heavyweights. The one guy is in the top 10 in the world – I will keep his name quiet for now, because we’re busy with the negotiations to get him out here to South Africa.

“And then I’m bringing in a Ukrainian guy who’s 17-0, and he just helped Usyk for his last fight against Joshua. So, I’m bringing in two bruisers to put me through my paces – who are quite similar to Dubois as well.

“For the next three weeks, it’s going to be really hard training, and then we’re prepared. We’re ready, and the beast mode is switched on. Cometh the hour, cometh the man! That is what it’s all about for me.

“The man is coming, and Dubois is big and strong, but he is in there with a guy who is just as strong, faster, tenacious … the ‘Gutter Dog from South Africa’.”


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