27-year-old Kevin Lerena is the odds on favourite in the fight against 40-year old Sefer Seferi of Albania. Photo: @Kevin_KO_Lerena on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Kevin Lerena is the odds on favourite when he makes the fifth defence of his IBO cruiserweight belt against the 40-year-old Sefer Seferi of Albania at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday night.

The 27-year-old Lerena 23-1; 10 who fights from the southpaw won the vacant IBO cruiserweight belt on a split decision against Youri Kayembre (23-3) in a hard-fought encounter at Emperors Palace in September 2017 and has made successful defences against Dmytro Kucher (ud 12), Roman Golovashchenko (ud 12), Artur Mann (tko 4) and Vasil Ducar (ud 12) all at Emperors Palace, except for the win over Golovashchenko which was in Baku.

The only loss on Lerena’s record came against Johnny Muller on points in November 2014.

However, in a return match in April 2016 he stopped Muller in the 10th round in a clash for the vacant WBA Pan African cruiserweight title.

Lerena is rated at No 5 by the WBC, No 6 by the WBA and at No 11 by the IBF according to the ratings on Fightnews.com.

Seferi is not rated by any of the main organisations but is listed at No 30 by the IBO.

Very little is known about Seferi who was born in Gostivar, Macedonia and made his pro debut in May 2007

He won his first 20 fights against low-level opposition fighting at cruiserweight, all inside the distance, except for two six-round points’ victories.

Moving up to heavyweight on September 17, 2016, he took on the much heavier Manuel Charr in a clash for the vacant WBA International heavyweight title and lost on points over 10 rounds.

On June 6, 2018, he met the former WBA/IBF/WBO and IBO undefeated heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury in Manchester and was smashed to defeat in four rounds.

In his most recent fight on November 17 last year he fought to a majority 12 round draw with the vastly more experienced Firat Arslan (44-8-2) for the vacant WBO Intercontinental cruiserweight title.

Seferi will have height and reach advantages over Lerena and known as a switch-hitter he always comes into the ring in superb condition which belies his age of 40

With a record 23-2-1; 21 Seferi is undoubtedly tough and could extend the champion in an intriguing 12-rounder. 

African News Agency (ANA)