Not since Dingaan Thobela stunned the boxing fraternity with his last round knockout victory over defending champion Glenn Catley back on the Spring Day of 2000 has a South African boxer held a WBC world title.
And so it is understandable that there should be excitement at the prospects of Kevin Lerena’s upcoming fight against Senad Gashi at Emperor’s Palace on Saturday night.
The fighter they fondly refer to as Two Guns will trade leather with Germany’s Gashi in the main bout of Golden Gloves Promotions’ Double Down @ The Palace bill for the WBC Interim Bridgerweight title.
Success for Lerena though will see him being installed co-world champion with Lukasz Rozanski of Poland prior to the duo clashing.
“This fight means a lot for boxing in South Africa,” explained Brian Mitchell in his capacity as Golden Gloves Publicist “You need to realise that the WBC is one of the biggest sanctioning bodies in the world and as a country we have only ever produced two WBC world champions in Sugarboy Malinga and Dingaan Thobela. So, Kevin is on the cusp of a great achievement.”
A former world champion with the WBA, Mitchell says the prospect of Lerena being a co-champion comes about because Rozanski has yet to fight against Badou Jack for whom Lerena was paid ‘step-aside’ money.
“A lot has changed obviously with this coming in paid him step aside money he was he was supposed to fight the cr
The Rozanski fight was supposed to happen this year but did not and now the WBC is forcing them to fight by February after which Kevin will fight Rozanksi for the world title. But when he wins against Gashi on Saturday he will be installed co-champion prior to the world title fight. So it is all very exciting for us and boxing in the country.”
The exciting news for fight fans that will be making their way to Emperors’, Mitchell says, is that Thobela and Malinga will e ringside.
“Golden Gloves has invited the two former WBC world champions. But not only those two because Rodney (Berman, the Golden Gloves boss) will be hosting former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. You will remember that the last time South Africa hosted a WBC world title fight, it was when Lewis came here to defend his title against Hasim Rahman and unfortunately lost it.”
While the night will obvicously be all about Lerena, there are also some exciting bouts on the bill, with the junior middleweight eight rounder between Shervantaigh Koopman and Christiano Ndombassy promising to be a humdinger.
“And then we will have youth versus experience when Lusanda Komanisi squares up to Kaine Fourie in the lightweights,” Michell said, adding that he expects a thriller that pits the Western Capeg’s Dannier Roussoow against Eastern Cape pugilist Jamie Webb over six rounds.
Opening the bill will be the light heavyweight four rounder between Micahel Head and Bonginkosi Nhlapo.