Heavyweight contender Kevin Lerena is expecting to have a dangerous fight in his new division in the coming months.
Lerena did as much as he felt he could in the cruiserweight division, where he retained the IBO world title six times. He had issues making the cruiserweight limit of 200 and decided to make the full leap to heavyweight.
The South African boxer is hoping to find the same success as other cruiserweights who made the heavyweight leap – like Evander Holyfield, David Haye and Oleksandr Usyk.
“I’m comfortable in the sense that I don’t have to deplete myself, which was doing an injustice to my performance. So, I think you are seeing the real me now, in the sense of performance-inspired me,” Lerena told IOL.
“Yes, I’m a smaller heavyweight, but so what? This smaller heavyweight is kind of making big men look average, and I plan to continue to do that. My training has changed a bit in a sense of what I do… I’m not putting on too much mass, but I don’t want to get heavier than I am right now. You will lose your speed (if you put on too much weight), and I’ll rather sacrifice a little bit of power to be super dynamic and fast and flashy. So no, I don’t want to bulk up.”
Back in March, Lerena looked impressive when he knocked out battle tested Bogdan Dinu in five rounds to pick up the WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title at Emperors Palace.
“I made it look easy! It wasn’t easy… I think I made it look easy because I prepared. No stone left unturned – each fight presents different (challenges), and yes, sometimes in a fight, it falls into your hands a bit ‘easier’ than other fights,” Lerena said.
“But that’s essentially a game-plan, and I knew that is what I was going to put him away with – an uppercut straight left. It’s been going very good. A lot came after that fight. The victory was a big one. Now I’m just staying humble, true to the ground… and continuously work hard. I know where I want to go.”
And now Lerena is getting geared up, for what he says will be a dangerous opponent for the month of September.
Based on his statements, the opponent could be Polish giant Mariusz Wach – but Lerena says the opponent has never been stopped and Wach was stopped in his last fight.
“I’ve got a big fight in September, a very big one… I cannot say who yet! It’s going to be here – it’s actually 80 percent that it’s going to be here (in South Africa), so we’re just hoping that we can finalize some numbers and get some big blue-chip brands on board to get behind the event, Lerena said.
“But it’s 80 percent here. A big name, a massive heavyweight… A gatekeeper to the heavyweight division top 10. And when I beat him, it will send a very big message to the world champions that I’m here, and I wanna fight you. To be fair, he’s never been knocked out before, so he’s a real tough dude. He’s only lost to Wladimir Klitschko, on points, (Alexander) Povetkin on points, and Dillian Whyte. But, maybe I will knock him out! Let’s wait and see… A victory sends a message; a knockout sends the share price through the roof and says a world title fight written all over me.”