Cape Town — South African heavyweight star Kevin Lerena wants to spend “quality time” with his wife and children, and wants his body and mind to recover fully from a busy 2022 before he gets back into the ring.
Following his bout with British heavyweight Daniel Dubois in December, it was expected that Lerena would return to boxing as early as March.
But in an Instagram post this week, the 30-year-old southpaw from Johannesburg stated that he is only likely to fight again in April, possibly against Ivory Coast-born Belgian pugilist Ryad Merhy.
Lerena went toe-to-toe with Dubois at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London for the WBA (regular) heavyweight title, knocking his much taller and heavier opponent to the ground on a few occasions, but then succumbing to a third-round technical knockout in controversial circumstances.
Dubois went down three times in the first round, but was controversially allowed to recover in his corner after English referee Howard Foster called time at two minutes and 49 seconds — 11 seconds short of the required three minutes.
In contrast, when Dubois caught Lerena with an uppercut in the third round, the South African said he felt the referee didn’t give him the same amount of time to recover before stopping the fight.
“For many asking in anticipation — I won’t be fighting in the beginning of March. I made the decision to take some time off to repair my niggles that have been bothering me. I want to spend quality time with my wife and (two) kids,” Lerena posted on Instagram.
“We got a new bundle of joy in bound, and that is of most importance.
“I fought in September 2022 and in December 2022 for the WBA world title. My body and mind hasn’t had the necessary time to recover – two fights back-to-back in which I carried a lot of weight on my shoulders.
“I think fighting in March is rushing my return and would not be in my best interest.
“I hope to get out again in the month of April. Once again to my loyal supporters — thank you.”
Long-time promoter Rodney Berman is busy sorting out Lerena’s next fight, posting on Twitter that it could happen in April, to which the former cruiserweight stalwart replied: “Yes!! April let’s get it — Lerena vs Merhy is an extremely challenging fight! I look forward!
“Going nowhere … As I said I’ll be back in the ring in April — hopefully for the WBC world title eliminator against Ryad Merhy! Let’s go @GoldenGlovesSA @wbcmoro @WBCBoxing.”