South African boxing sensation Kevin Lerena has labeled himself an underdog ahead of Saturday night’s heavyweight title fight against Poland’s Mariusz Wach. This will be Lerena’s second fight since moving from heavyweight to heavyweight.
30-year-old Lerena will meet with an experienced campaign participant, 42-year-old Vah.
Lerena’s first heavyweight title fight was a memorable event almost six months ago. Pudnev announced his move up the weight class with a fourth-round knockout of Romania’s Bogdan Dina. But the next battle will be even more difficult.
Lerena will meet a veteran who has already boxed the best in the world. Wach has already faced well-known heavyweight boxers including Wladimir Klitschko and Kevin McBride.
“I think I’m an underdog if you look at the experience on paper. I’m the underdog, he’s the bigger man on paper and he’s the bigger man in terms of size, so I’m definitely the underdog. Whether people think I am or not, that’s my mentality, that’s what makes me successful. All eyes are definitely on me but with pressure comes responsibility but I’m excited because diamonds are cut under immense pressure and I’m going to go out and be a diamond for South African boxing,” says Lerena.
Wah is a tall and bulky boxer who will have a big reach advantage against Lerena. The Polish boxer is a veteran with 36 wins in 44 fights accompanied by nineteen knockouts. But Lerena will rely on his skill, speed and strength to neutralize his opponent.
“For me, if you’re a smart fighter to have longevity in the sport of boxing, and I think I want to change the sport in South Africa, you have to be smart, you have to have the skills to hit and not get hit because it’s longevity. The true reality of it is longevity, boxing is all about smarts, yes you will get hit, it’s inevitable, you’re in a fight, however you can limit it with skill and a good defensive mindset,” Lerena added.
On the other hand, Lerena also has an impressive record of 27 wins in 28 fights. The South African has an impressive fourteen knockouts and has only suffered one defeat in his entire professional career.
“Boxing is boxing, one punch can turn anything and we’re not looking at that because we’re looking for perfection in the arena, we want to go out there and put on an explosive show. But being an underdog in his mindset just makes him work harder, makes him want to convince people that he’s the real champion, without a doubt, you know, look at ourselves, what we’re trying to get, we’re going hunting, you know. We need to make a killing, I think that’s the right frame of mind for him,” says South African boxing coach Peter Smith.
Boxing promoter Rodney Berman says it’s long past time for Lerene to box against the best in the world to be considered one of the best.
“Lerena brings something to the ring that other heavyweight fighters don’t have. They’re heavy, they’re one-dimensional, and they’re strong. “Lerena brings the speed and hand movement seen in the lightweight division, so we’re going to see something special on Saturday night and Lerena’s name will be right next to the best heavyweights in the world,” says Berman.
The main supporting bout of the night will be the South African lightweight title fight between champion Chiphiwa Munyai and challenger Lusanda Kamanisi.
Boxing South Africa is pleased to hold the South African title fights on the same night as it will help to revive boxing in the country.