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New heavyweight Kevin Lerena has got that ’Mike Tyson build’, says Rodney Berman

Published Feb 11, 2022

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By Iqbal Khan

Durban - A double-header heavyweight blockbuster awaits fight fans on March 26 when Golden Gloves stage two title fights at the home of boxing, Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

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Fights fans will be glued to their sets on March 16 after tickets for the evening were sold out within hours of going on sale.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic an allocation of 1 000 tickets were on sale and these was snapped up swiftly. SuperSport will bring the live action to the screens of millions throughout the country on the night.

“It’s going to be a night to remember,” claimed an excited Rodney Berman, head of Golden Gloves who has brought South Africa some mouth-watering bouts for many decades.

“Never before have fight fans seen heavyweights going toe to toe here in this country since the days of the late Corrie Sanders. And if you go further back to the days of the likes of Gerrie Coetzee, Kallie Knoetze, Mike Schutte, Pierre Coetzer, Frans Botha, Robbie Williams, Mike Koranicki – all who had South Africans crying for more of the same.”

Berman, the equivalent of Don King in the United States, has South Africa’s exciting Kevin Lerena taking on Romanian Bogdan Dinu for the vacant WBA Inter-continental title over 12 rounds. And if that’s not enough to whet the appetite of the fight fans, Berman also has a 12-round South African heavyweight title fight between the reigning champion Juan Roux of Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal’s Joshua Pretorius.

According to Berman, Lerena who has stepped up from the cruiserweight division, is one of the most exciting heavyweights around and could follow in the footsteps of former world champion, Gerrie Coetzee.

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“He’s got style and swagger. He’s got the Mike Tyson built and fights like a tiger. I believe he is the “real deal” when we talk of current day heavyweights. It’s his first major title challenge and with a record of 27 fights and one loss, I believe he will go all the way to the top,” Berman enthused.

The Romanian (35) is no slouch. He’s had fewer fights than the South African, known as the “The KO Kid” but Dinu is expected to come at Lerena, who is 29.

Dinu’s record shows that he’s had 16 wins by knockout and three losses. Lerena has had one loss in his professional career and has racked up 13 knockouts since he began his professional career in 2011.

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Lerena, a southpaw, held the IBO cruiserweight title since 2017 and was considered the fifth best active cruiserweight by The Ring magazine, fourth by Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and eighth by BoxRec as of September 2021.

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His last fight was against Patrick Ferguson in December 2020 which ended in a TKO win for him.

Dinu lost his last bout in June 2021 via a second round knockout at the Telford International Centre to Briton Daniel Dubois.

Meanwhile, the South African heavyweight title fight has drawn keen interest as KwaZulu-Natal’s Pretorius is being heavily backed to win the crown from Roux, who is unbeaten in six professional fights. Pretorius has been working hard behind the scenes and he believes it’s his time to wear the belt he so desperately wants.

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Vacant WBA Inter-continental heavyweight title (12 rounds):

Bogdan Dinu (Romania) v Kevin Lerena (South Africa)

SA heavyweight title (12 rounds):

Joshua Pretorius v Juan Roux (champion)

SA Junior-middleweight title (12 rounds):

Jamie Webb v Shervantaigh Koopman

Heavyweight (6 rounds):

Shaun Potgieter v Keaton Gomes

Middleweight (6 rounds):

Phikelani Terence Khumalo v Mbiya Kanu

IOL Sport

Related Topics:

Johannesburg Boxing

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