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Boxing | International

Kevin Lerena © BackpagePix

Lerena goes into the unknown against Golovashchenko

South Africa’s Kevin Lerena goes into the unknown when he defends his IBO cruiserweight belt against German-based Ukrainian Roman Golovashchenko at the Sarhadci Olympic Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday.

The tournament will be shown live on SS4 from 5:45pm CAT (SA, GMT+2) on Saturday.

On 15 March, 2015 the southpaw Lerena (20-1; 9), in his first trip to the Ukraine outpointed Igor Pylypenko over six rounds. It was the cruiserweight's first fight outside South Africa.

The 26-year-old Lerena won the vacant IBO belt on 9 September, 2017 when he outpointed Youri Kalenga over 12 rounds, and then went on to make a successful defence of the title on 18 March, 2018 against Dmytro Kucher.

Very little is known about the Ukranian 30-year-old challenger who has a record of 19-1-1nc; 17 KO's since making his pro debut on 15 September, 2007, with a stoppage win over Andrej Mauren in Magdeburg, Germany.

The first loss on the challenger’s record came against Varol Vekiloglu, who stopped him in the fifth round.

Looking at his fights since April 2016, he has won all inside the distance against lesser known fighters like Paata Aduashvili (21-12-2), Davit Gogishvili, Gogita Gorgiladze (32-12), Alejandro Emilio Valori (22-11) and Kai Kurzawa, who he stopped in two rounds to win the vacant IBO Intercontinental cruiserweight belt.

In his most recent fight on 4 November, 2017, he knocked out Zoltan Petranyi (55-22).

Lerena is probably the favourite going into this fight, but he will be fighting in a foreign country and with Golovashchenko having an 81 percent knockout ratio, he could be dangerous.

The other main organisation cruiserweight champions are Murat Gassiev (WBA/IBF) and Oleksandr Usyk (WBC/WBO).


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