JOHANNESBURG – International Boxing Organisation (IBO) cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena will return to action on March 16 at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park when he defends his belt against Artur Mann from Kazakhstan, and not against Patrick Ferguson as previously announced.
The southpaw Lerena 21-1; 9 has been inactive since June last year when he made a successful defence of the IBO belt against Roman Golovashchenko in Baku.
During 2018 Lerena, 26, was plagued by injury and had to undergo a shoulder operation, and also a reported alleged use of a banned substance.
He was subsequently tested clean after a positive test.
The 28-year-old Mann 15-0; 8 who fights out of Hanover, Germany, made his pro debut in May 2015.
He had a good 2018 scoring impressive victories over Laszlo Ivanyi (7-7), Alexander Peil (10-0) and Alex Zubov (17-1).
In the fight against Peil he won the vacant Global Boxing Union Intercontinental and WBO International cruiserweight titles with scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112.
I will be defending my IBO World Title on the 16th of March 🏆 Fight details will be announced this week . Just finishing up and finalizing the finer details 📝 #AndStill #WorldChampion @GoldenGlovesSA pic.twitter.com/JVzBn6Bjcu— Kevin Lerena (@Kevin_Ko_Lerena) January 14, 2019
Mann had a successful amateur career fighting at heavyweight and won bronze and silver at the German championships.
He is listed at No. 26 by the IBO.
On the same card Boyd Allen meets John Boland in a clash for the vacant WBA Pan African junior-middleweight title.
African News Agency (ANA)