Boxers' safety comes first, emphasises Berman

Dymtro Kucher, left, and IBO cruiserweight champ Kevin Lerena face off at Emperors Palace on Saturday.
Dymtro Kucher, left, and IBO cruiserweight champ Kevin Lerena face off at Emperors Palace on Saturday.
Image: NICK LOURENS

Promoter Rodney Berman used the opportunity during yesterday's pre-fight medical for his upcoming tournament to remind all boxing stakeholders that safety must be given priority.

The triple championship, dubbed "Palace Pandemonium", will take place at Emperors Palace on Saturday evening.

"[As] much as we all love to watch boxers do what comes naturally, and that includes knockouts, which bring people to venues, we must also not lose sight of the fact that safety of fighters is paramount," said the veteran promoter, reacting to the death of Scott Westgarth last weekend.

The 31-year-old light heavyweight novice from the UK died after being hospitalised following his points win over Dec Spelman in England.

Berman spoke from the heart because two of the three bouts in his bill have the potential to produce knockouts.

When boxers go into their championship fights with the intention to knock each other out, the chances of severe injuries are galore.

Kevin Lerena will defend his IBO cruiserweight belt against Dymtro Kucher of Ukraine in the main bout, while Mbenge and Diego Cruz will meet for the vacant WBC International welterweight title in the supporting bout.

Lerena and Kucher have promised fans war, and the two gladiators campaign in a division where power is everything.

Lerena has knocked out nine of his 19 victims against a loss, while Kucher boasts 18 knockouts in 24 wins against two losses and a draw.

The third bout is in the mini flyweight class between defending champion Deejay Kriel and Xolisa Magusha.

Meanwhile, Lerena (93.30kg), Kucher (92.40kg), Mbenge (68.45kg) and Kriel (48.80kg) were within required weight limits of the pre-fight medical yesterday.

Cruz was overweight and will be monitored closely by BSA manager Archie Nyingwa. The limit was 70.14kg.

The official weigh-in is at Emperors Palace on Friday.

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