Kevin Lerena closing in on cruiserweight title shot, must overcome Sefer Seferi on Saturday
Kevin Lerena is on track to fight for a world title belt in 2020 and the cruiserweight contender might be just one victory away.
The Johannesburg native is scheduled to face Sefer Seferi over 12 rounds at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, South Africa.
Lerena, who is rated No. 6 by The Ring at 200 pounds, last fought on June 8, defeating Vasil Ducar by unanimous decision. In his previous bout, on Mar. 16, the 27-year-old returned to action following shoulder surgery to stop Artur Mann in four. Both Ducar and Mann were unbeaten when they faced Lerena.
Long-time South Africa promoter Rodney Berman is planning on staging a major fight card next year at Emperors Palace, where he hopes Lerena headlines in an elimination bout or challenge for a world title belt.
“It is inevitable that a major encounter in the cruiserweight division awaits Lerena next year,” Berman told The Ring in a recent email. “The purse money (from a sanctioning body) would have to be commensurate with the fight. It is difficult to stage a fight of this magnitude in South Africa at the present time, given the weakness of the currency (the rand).”
The southpaw Lerena (23-1, 10 knockouts) is ranked No. 5 by the WBC and No. 6 by the WBA. His only defeat came at the hands of fellow South African Johnny Muller in November 2014, a loss he would avenge a year-and-a-half later by 10th-round stoppage.
Seferi (23-2-1, 21 KOs) has not been in the ring since Nov. 17, when he fought to a majority-decision draw against Firat Arslan. He is best known for losing by fourth-round stoppage to former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in June of last year.
The 40-year-old Seferi, whose other loss was at the hands of Manuel Charr, is of Albanian descent. He was born in Macedonia and now resides in Burgdof, Switzerland.
In a clash of unbeaten junior welterweight prospects, Marios Matamba (11-0, 9 KOs), who is originally from the Congo and now resides in Cape Town, South Africa, will face Pretoria’s Jabulani Makhense (8-0, 4 KOs) in a 12-round bout.
Unbeaten Keaton Gomes (6-0, 4 KOs) will square off against Lebogang Mashitoa (6-1, 2 KOs) in a 10-round cruiserweight bout.
The bout will be broadcast on SuperSport in South Africa.