Champ Lerena faces Kucher test

IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena.
IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena.

An acid test of character and resolve awaits IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena when he defends against tough Ukrainian Dymtro Kucher at Emperors Palace on March 3.

Kucher is best remembered for violently stopping then feared former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli in the first round for the European title in London on June 10 2016.

Welshman Maccarinelli, a terrific ambassador for UK boxing, retired after that defeated by Kucher.

Maccarinelli had been the last fighter to inflict a serious knockout defeat of American Roy Jones jnr.

Jones finally ended his illustrious career with a points win over 10 rounds against Scott Sigmon last week.

The fight on March 3 will be Kucher's second attempt to win the IBO cruiserweight belt.

He was defeated by Marco Huck on points in November 2016.

Huck, from Germany, was later dethroned by Mairis Briedis in April last year.

Briedis, from Latvia, vacated that title that was later won by Lerena against France-based Congolese Youri Kayembre Kalenga in September last year.

Lerena will make a first defence. The big left-hander is rated No 4 by both the WBC and IBF, and eighth by the WBA.