Kevin Lerena wins in Azerbaijan
Kevin Lerena dropped heavy-hitting Roman Golovashchenko as he ground out a unanimous decision to retain his IBO cruiserweight title in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday night.
Two judges scored it 115-112 and the third 116-111 for the South African southpaw who briefly felled his opponent with a left cross in the fifth round.
Lerena survived a heavy onslaught in the opening two rounds, during which the Germany-based Ukrainian is most dangerous, having stopped 13 of his 19 victims in the opening six minutes.
The Johannesburg fighter, cut on the left eye in the second stanza, found his rhythm after that, landing combinations, slipping blows and moving well.
Lerena was in complete control in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, but then took his foot off the pedal, letting the challenger back into the fight.
When he attacked and let the punches flow, Lerena looked good, and he needs to keep the intensity going when the going’s good.
But still, he had enough gas in the tank to win the final two rounds to ensure he convinced the neutral judges.
Lerena’s record improves to 21 wins (nine by stoppage) and one defeat, while Golovashchenko, unbeaten in nearly a decade, drops to 19-2 (17 KOs).
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