Lerena poised to snatch bridgerweight belt

Fighter looking for paying heavyweight bouts

Kevin Lerena will be involved in a heavyweight bout in Rivad, Saudi Arabia.
Kevin Lerena will be involved in a heavyweight bout in Rivad, Saudi Arabia.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Unheralded boxing warrior Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena will be involved in a history-making bout when the former horseracing jockey challenges World Boxing Council (WBC) bridgerweight champion Lawrence Okolie.

The upcoming fight will be Lerena's 11th world title and his 21st championship match since he fought his first professional bout on November 30, 2011.

He said the fight against Okolie will be staged by respected UK promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry, either at home or in Saudi Arabia.

The largest Arab country in the Middle East has become a second home for Warren and his countryman Eddie Hearn. They were signed by the chairman of Saudi 's General Entertainment Authority Turki Alashikh to stage big fights in that part of the world which is steadily becoming home for super bouts. 

In one of their tournaments, Lerena lost to former Olympian Justis Huni for the World Boxing Organisation Global heavyweight belt at Kingdom Arena, Ryadh, on March 3.

“We are waiting to hear about the location and the actual date but it will be in the United Kingdom or Saudi Arabia,” said Lerena, whose bout against Okolie will be the first for an African fighter.

Bridgerweight is between the heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions and was created by WBC  president Mauricio Sulaiman in 2020.

Lerena is the current WBC bridgerweight interim champion. The Englishman, a former WBO cruiserweight holder, won the bridgerweight belt from Polish Lukasz Rozanski via a first round knockout in May .

Winning that belt in November last year actually qualified him to challenge Okolie.

Lerena said winning the bridgerweight title will be a gateway for him to big lucrative heavyweight fights. “Okolie is a very good fighter with lots of power but I do believe he's one dimensional – strong in certain areas and very weak in others; he’s awkward. I know what to do to win,” said Lerena.

“There are opportunities for everyone if you are good enough, smart enough and marketable. Physically I am at my strongest. I want to make South Africans proud by winning the bridgerweight belt.”

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