Triple championship bill at Emperors Palace

By Ron Jackson

Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions presents a triple championship bill at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday night, with South Africa’s Kevin Lerena in the main event, making the first defense of his IBO cruiserweight belt against Dmytro Kucher from the Ukraine.

Photo: Yolanda van der Stoep

In two other potential exciting match-ups, South African welterweight champion Thulane Mbenge meets Mexico’s Diego Cruz for the vacant WBC International welterweight title, and Deejay Kriel defends the WBC International minimumweight title against Xolisa Magusha.

The tournament will be shown live on SS6 on Saturday night from 19:30 to 23:30.

The 25-year-old Lerena 19-1; 9 who fights from the southpaw stance possibly faces the toughest fight of his career when goes in against more experienced 33-year-old Kucher 24-2-1; 18.

The only loss on Lerena’s record was a ten round points decision to Johnny Muller in November 2015. However, he reversed the loss in April 2016 when she stopped Muller in the tenth round.

Lerena made his pro debut on November 30, 2011 and has won the WBF Africa, WBC Youth, South African and WBA Pan African junior-heavyweight titles, before he captured the vacant IBO cruiserweight belt on September 9 last year when he outpointed Youri Kayembre Kalenga from the DRC over 12 rounds. The scores were 117-111, 116-113 and 115-113.

Kucher, 33, has been fighting as a pro for eight years and compiled a creditable record of 24-2; 18.

The losses on his record came against Ilunga Makabu on a majority 12 rounds points decision and unanimous points decision loss against the former WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in a challenge for the IBO cruiserweight belt.

The rugged Kucher will have height and reach advantages over Lerena. His knockout percentage is 67% against the 45% of Lerena.

The South African is ranked at No 4 by the IBF, No. 6 by the WBC and No. 8 by the WBA. He is not rated by the WBO.

Kucher is listed at number sixteen by the IBO and number fifteen by the WBC.

The other major organisation cruiserweight champions are WBC/WBO Oleksadr Usyk (Ukraine), WBA, Denis Lebedev (Russia) and IBF Murat Gassiev (Russia).


South African welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge 12-0; 10 clashes with Mexico’s Diego Cruz 18-5-2; 14 for the vacant WBC International welterweight title.


Deejay Kriel 13-1-1; 6 makes the first defence of his WBC International minimumweight title when he faces recently crowned South African minimumweight champion Xolisa Magusha 10-2-1; 5.

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