Cruiserweight Kevin Lerena to face Vikapita Meroro on Feb. 4
Cruiserweight contender Kevin Lerena will fight Vikapita Meroro on Feb. 4, it was announced Thursday evening.
The 10-round bout will take place at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, South Africa.
Residing in nearby Johannesburg, the southpaw Lerena has won his last five bouts since his decision loss to countryman Johnny Muller in November of 2014. He would avenge the loss to Muller in a rematch on April 24, stopping him in round 10.
In his most recent bout on Oct. 22, Lerena won a 10-round majority decision over fringe contender Micki Nielsen, of Denmark.
The 24-year-old Lerena (16-1, 8 knockouts), who is co-promoted by Golden Gloves Promotions and Banner Promotions, is ranked No. 5 by the WBO and No. 11 by the WBC.
“I can’t wait for the New Year,” said Lerena, who is trained by Peter Smith. “The path to a world title is in front of me. My promoter Rodney Berman is getting me the right fights and my world rankings will support a title shot in the future.”
“Kevin has stardom written all over him,” said Berman, who runs the Golden Gloves promotion in South Africa. “We’ve got big plans in 2017 for him. Putting him in the right fights, securing his position in the world rankings of the sanctioning bodies and working with Banner Promotions in the U.S. to secure him a major stateside fight in the coming year.”
Artie Pelullo, president and CEO of Banner Promotions, is also very high on Lerena.
“We are excited to be co-promoting Kevin with Rodney Berman and Golden Gloves,” said Pelullo. “Rodney has only brought us the cream of the crop. Kevin is a quality fighter, who has shown he has championship ability. We look forward to him getting closer to a world title opportunity with a big win on February 4.
“I’m as excited about Kevin’s future as I’ve ever been of all the fighters I’ve worked with. (The) cruiserweight (division) is currently a very exciting division in boxing.”
Meroro (28-5, 14 KOs) should provide a decent test for Lerena, even though he has not been active in recent months.
The Windhoek, Namibia resident has not fought since May of 2015. In that bout, he was knocked out in the sixth round by Dmitry Kudryashov of Russia, snapping a streak of seven consecutive victories.
Meroro’s most notable fights were decision losses to Juergen Braehmer and Isaac Chilemba.
Two other fighters from South Africa will also fight on the card.
Former minimumweight titleholder Hekkie Budler (30-2, 9 KOs), who is now campaigning as a junior flyweight, will face Joey Canoy (12-2-1, 6 KOs) of the Philippines in a 12-round bout.
Light heavyweight Ryno Liebenberg (17-4, 12 KOs) will square off against Enrico Koelling (22-1, 6 KOs) of Germany in a 10-round bout. Liebenberg hopes to avenge a split decision loss to Koelling, which occurred on Oct. 1.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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