JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Kevin Lerena makes the fourth defence of his IBO cruiserweight belt against the No 28 IBO-ranked Czech Vasil Ducar at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park, on the Golden Gloves Promotions bill ‘KO Kings’ on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Lerena 22-1; 10 who fights from the southpaw stance, won the vacant IBO belt in September 2017 with a split decision win over Youri Kayembre Kalenga at Emperors Palace.
Since winning the belt, he has shown marked improvement under the guidance of the Smith brothers, who operate out of their gym in Cedar Square, Johannesburg.
He has now looked good in making three successful defences of the belt against Dmytro Kucher (pts 12), Roman Golovashchenko (pts 12) and Artur Mann (tko 4).
Ducar, 29, who has only been fighting as a pro since April 2017 and racked up a record of 7-0-1; 6 stopped the previously unbeaten Samuel Kadje in the 10th round in September last year to claim the vacant WBF Intercontinental cruiserweight belt.
The only blot on his record was a split draw against Vladir Rezincek (8-2-1) on 23 June 23 last year, with scores of 95-94, 95-95 and 96-94.
Even though Ducar has limited experience, he comes from the tough school of MMA fighting, where he won three fights and lost two, according to the Sherdog website.
The champion goes into the fight as the favourite, but the unknown Ducar, who is bigger than Lerena, has knockout power with six wins inside the distance and MMA experience, which could prove dangerous.
This is a must-win for Lerena, who is ranked at No 7 by the WBC, No 9 by the WBA and at No 8 by the IBF, so that he can challenge for one of the major organisation belts on offer.
There are two good match-ups on the undercard, with Jabulani Makhense 7-0; 4 making the first defence of his WBA Pan African junior-welterweight title and WBA Pan African junior-middleweight champion Boyd Allen 4-0; 3 in against Aleksandra Zhuravskiy 13-5; 11 of Kazakhstan in a scheduled eight-rounder.
Other fighters featured on the bill are Aidan Quin, Ruarke Knapp, Keaton Gomes, Ricardo Malijika, Arnel Lubisi and Amador Kalonji.
African News Agency (ANA)