27-year-old Kevin Lerena retained his IBO cruiserweight belt for the fifth time. Photo: @Kevin_KO_Lerena via Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Sefen Seferi from Albania was stopped in the third round by South Africa’s Kevin Lerena, who retained his IBO cruiserweight belt for the fifth time, at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday night.

All credit to Lerena (90.20kg) who came out aggressively at the opening bell, but in reality there was little response from Seferi (89.30kg) who fought with his gloves held up to his face as he pushed out some tentative lefts and rights that missed the champion.

This was the same pattern in the second round and when Lerena stepped up the pace in round three there was little response from Seferi and the only time he showed any form of aggression in the fight was when he complained bitterly to the referee that Lerena had hit him behind the head.

In the third round, the superbly-conditioned Lerena 24-1; 11 landed a glancing southpaw left hand blow the side of the head that sent Seferi to his knees.

Referee Jean Robert Laine from Monte Carlo picked up the count and then waved the fight off without completing the count at two minutes 30 seconds into the round.

Even though the challenger did not appear to be in any distress or hurt, he seemed reluctant to continue.

The 40-year-old Seferi 23-3-1; 21 had an impressive record on paper and much more was expected of him even though he had been fighting opponents with more losses than wins on their record.

The unused judges were Olena Polyvailo (Belgium), Frank Maas (Germany) and Allen Matakane (South Africa).

In a closely fought 12-rounder WBA Pan African junior-welterweight champion Jabulani Makhense (63.50kg) added the IBF Africa junior welterweight title to his collection when he beat Marios Matamba (63.30kg) from the DRC on a majority decision.

The scores were 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114.

Lebo Mashitoa (87.05kg) who fights from the southpaw stance won the vacant Gauteng cruiserweight title on a ten round split decision over Keaton Gomes (89.80kg).

The scores were 98-92 and 99-91 for Mashitoa and 96-94 for Gomes.

Other results:

Junior middleweight: Thembani Mhlanga beat Aidan Quin, pts 4; Light heavyweight: Mduduzi Moyo beat Michael Markram, pts 4;  

African News Agency (ANA)