US Hall of Famer tips Kucher to clinch belt
Veteran American boxing trainer and New York Hall of Fame inductee James Ali Bashir says a new IBO cruiserweight champion will be crowned when defending champion Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena puts his belt on the line against Dymtro Kucher in the main bout of Golden Gloves tournament at Emperors Palace on March 3.
The vastly experienced Bashir, 66, was an assistant to revered Emanuel Steward for 17 years out of the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan.
He has trained many top names including Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko as well as Ukrainian WBC and WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Bashir is in the country honing the skills of heavyweight hopeful Ruann "Giant King" Visser who will challenge SA heavyweight champion Osborne "Big Daddy" Machimana at Emerald Casino in Vanderbijlpark on Friday.
Bashir accompanied Kucher to the gym of trainer Colin Nathan where Golden Gloves had a media briefing after Kucher and DeeJay Kriel had their public workouts on Thursday.
Kucher jetted into South Africa last week and opted to go into camp on a farm in Meyerton where Visser has his own gym.
That is because Kucher's friend and countryman Vladyslav Sirenko is training there under Bashir. Sirenko, who made his professional debut in Durban in May last year, will be in action on Friday.
"Listen here man, this will be a seven- or nine-rounds fight. This kid (Kucher) is a beautiful textbook boxer and he will take Kevin to school before finally stopping him," said Bashir.
"I saw Kevin in his fight against Youri Kayembre. He does not have power, only the size, which he uses to smother his opponents. Kucher is a boxer and a fighter at the same time and he can take a punch."
Kucher said: "I would not be here if I did not believe I can win this fight. I saw one of Kevin's fights. You never know what is gonna happen on the night, but I am fully prepared for 12 rounds."
While Kucher has stopped 18 of 24 victims within the short distance against two losses and a draw, Lerena has nine stoppages in 19 wins against a loss.
On the same card Kriel will defend his WBC International mini-flyweight belt against Xolisa Magusha. Golden Gloves publicist Brian Mitchell said in the event Kriel reigns supreme, his next fight will be against stable mate, IBO mini-flyweight holder Simpiwe "Chain Reaction" Konkco.
Thulani "Evolution" Mbenge will welcome Mexican Diego Cruz for the vacant WBC International welterweight strap.