Sun Sep 24 05:02:45 CAT 2017

Lerena an undeserving new champ

By Bongani Magasela | 2017-09-11 07:56:01.0

Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena was crowned the new IBO cruiserweight champion in front of a big yet cheerless crowd at Emperors Palace at the weekend - thanks to two of the three judges who presented him a gift he did not deserve.

The beauty though is that the two judges were not South Africans to suggest a home decision for cleanly defeated Lerena. They were from Zimbabwe and Ghana.

Local referee Tony Nyangiwe handled the bout without any bias towards his countryman, who had no match against Youri "El Toro" Kalenga on Saturday night.

The Congolese, who is based in France, was aggressive and dominant as he threw more leather and was not given any headache by Lerena, who spent almost two of the three minutes per round focusing on Kalenga's punches.

Sowetan had Kalenga on three-point lead going into the 11th round which meant Lerena needed a knockdown to try to even scores, but it was not to be. Lerena seemed not to have a game plan at all.

It would be generous to say Lerena threw 10 punches in each of the 12 rounder.

He was expected to throw everything he had in the 12th round but not on Saturday night. It thus came as a big shock when judges Patrick Mukondiwa and Eddie Pappoe's scores read 116-113 and 115-113 in Lerena's favour.

Robert Hoyle from the US aptly scored the fight 117-111 for Kalenga. Meanwhile, SA junior middleweight champion Nkululeko "Bulldog" Mhlongo savagely pulverised Brandon Thysse to the pulp over 10 rounds. He turned tables from round four onwards.

Also on Saturday, SA welterweight champion Thulani "Tulz" Mbenge ran out of ideas against Mziwoxolo Ndwayana who gave as much as he received to eventually lose on points after closely contested 12 rounds, while Rowan Campbell forced a fourth-round stoppage against Benjamin Mhabetse.

Chris Thompson stopped Antonnelle Maree in two rounds.

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