Can Kevin Lerena make it at heavyweight?

By Ron Jackson

Kevin Lerena (26-1, 13 KOs) who made his mark in the cruiserweight class winning the South African title and the IBO belt, has now officially announced that will be fighting in the heavyweight division in the future.

He is scheduled to meet the 35-year-old Bogdan Dinu (20-3, 16 KOs) from Romania on February 26 next year at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park in what is really his second fight in the heavyweight class, having stopped Patrick Ferguson in five rounds in his last fight.

The 29-year-old Lerena, who fights from the southpaw stance, has had an outstanding career since making his professional debut in November 2014 having had no amateur experience.

His only loss came against Johnny Muller in November 2014 but in a return match, he stopped Muller in the tenth round.

He faces a tough competitor in Dinu who has been fighting as a pro since 19 April 2008 with his only losses all inside the distance, have been against top class heavyweights like Jarrell Miller (22-0-1), Kubrat Pulev (26-1) and Daniel Dubois (15-1) in his most recent fight.

Lerena who weighs in the region of 103kg and at a height of 185cm is big enough for the heavyweight class and could hold his own in the division except for fighters like Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz Jr. and Dillian White who would possibly be too big and strong for him.

However, Oleksandr Usyk (height 191cm and weight just over 100kg) from the Ukraine proved it is possible to move up from the cruiserweight class and beat bigger heavyweights, having basically outclassed Anthony Joshua for the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles in September this year.

Looking through the world heavyweight champions of the past only a limited number weighed in over 103kg.

In an era of big heavyweights Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis, Vitaly Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko and a few others were much heavier and bigger.

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  • Save SA boxing ……mismanaged by incompetent ‘leaders’ and elites .Save S A as a country too.

    • That pretty much goes for boxing anywhere.

      I’m assuming your not a fan of Julius Malema and the EFF…

      • What a strange question? The viciously (anti-minority) racist EFF is small fry and it is the pathetic and corrupt ANC that has brought the country to its knees.

        • The question popped into mind when One Eye said “Save S A as a country too.” I’m not from SA, but know a couple from there. I know a little about Malema. Assumed he wasn’t very popular with certain groups. My bad for bringing it up on boxing forum….

          • Sorry to be picky but many of us are traumatized by the decline of this country under the awful and corrupt Anc rule.

      • Thank you for bringing this subject to our awareness. I didnt know anything about this guy but amazed he’s accomplished so much political influence at 40 years. and from my research, Julius Malema is promoting change to make things more fair for everyone, not just a certain group of people.
        He appears to have the support of the common folks to take back what was taken.

  • Good luck to him. He’s definitely young enough to give it a good shot, but 13 ko’s from 27 fights primarily at cruiserweight isn’t the best sign. I thought he was headed to bridger, actually.

    • They are all heavyweights-nobody cares about cruiserweights or bridgers-there have always been giant heavyweights and many w4re beaten by smaller, faster fighters.

      • Of course there have been. There’s also been a lot of giant heavyweights who have beaten smaller, faster fighters. The further you go back in history the more you see the biggest guys being awful fighters. These days we have giants who have actual talent and I don’t think Lerena is strong enough or good enough to beat them.

        • LOL. Unfortunately, the current crop of giant HWs are also awful fighters. Fury has decent reflexes, but he’s clumsy, has a questionable chin and mediocre handspeed.

          He’s clearly lucky to be fighting during a period of limited talent, when you can get away with fighting once a year.

          • You can say that and that’s fine. I disagree with it, but at the same time I am most certainly not trying to make the case that Fury, Joshua and the likes are Ali or Holmes in terms of their skills.

            They’re also not Primo Carnera or Jess Willard or Valuev – these kind of lumbering oafish types whose only way of winning fights is by landing a big shot or by being able to outlast their opponent because they can absorb a lot of punishment. They’re better than that to me.

        • @Lucie “These days we have giants who have actual talent and I don’t think Lerena is strong enough or good enough to beat them.”

          Agreed. Somebody like Usyk, who’s quite talented, can pull that off, but I don’t think Lerena can compete with the top of the HW division either. Bridger isn’t a bad idea, which I think Lerena will find out for himself over time.

          According to Boxrec, Lerena became the mandatory for the WBA title when he beat Arslan a couple fights ago. Why make the jump now? I wonder if he’s having trouble making the weight?

          • Absolutely USF. If you want to go to Usyk, you got me. I got nothing for that guy, he’s good enough to compete with anyone at any size, but there aren’t a lot of Usyks walking around.

            I looked him up and Lerena was scheduled to fight a Bilal Laggoune for the silver bridgerweight title in March (….wow). That fight fell out and then he was going back to cruiser to fight Ryad Mehry for that WBA shot you mentioned, but he got injured. So he didn’t fight at all this year and I think it’s likely that you’re right – he’s probably having weight troubles.

  • He may pick up the African Boxing Union title or at a push the Commonwealth championship, but I can’t really see him causing much of a stir Globally!

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