Lerena must knock Golovashchenko out

Kevin Lerena beat Dmytro Kucher in a IBO cruiserweight title fight at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.
Kevin Lerena beat Dmytro Kucher in a IBO cruiserweight title fight at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.
Image: VELI NHLAPO

Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena will be best advised to knock the hell out of Roman Golovashchenko to retain his IBO cruiserweight belt in their championship fight in Azerbaijan, Eastern Europe, tomorrow.

That is because winning by a knockout outside your country discounts the possibility of falling victim to a home-town decision.

The glimmer of hope for Lerena is the fact that his bout against the highly rated Ukrainian will take place in a neutral country.

The IBO also appointed officials from neutral countries. The referee will be Terry O'Connor from the UK. His countryman Dave Parris and Italians Matteo Montella and Giulios Piras will be judges.

The fight will be Lerena's second outside South Africa.

Lerena, who is trained by Peter Smith, said: "Fighting outside the country will bring the best out of me, I want to put on a big performance. I hope to win by a stoppage."

The supremely built left- hander has stopped nine of his 20 victims against a single loss. Lerena is ranked No 6 by the WBC and No 4 by the IBF - two of the top four sanctioning bodies.

Golovashchenko, who boasts 17 stoppages in 19 wins against a loss, is yet to earn recognition from the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO. He is rated highly by the IBO.

"I must chop away, break him down, be smart, pick my punches," said Lerena, who arrived in Azerbaijan on Monday.

Lerena's promoter Rodney Berman made it clear that anything less than a major win would be a failure.

Lerena has fully healed from an elbow injury that forced a postponement of the fight.

The bout will be televised live by SuperSport4 from 5.45pm.

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