Kevin Lerena stays busy with catchweight bout against Patrick Ferguson
Despite the continued absence of a live crowd, Golden Gloves Promotions presents another evening of boxing at Emperor’s Palace, Gauteng, on Saturday night. South Africans will once again be watching at home but this time there will also be a live stream on UFC Fight Pass for international fans.
Headlining the bill will be The Ring no. 5 ranked cruiserweight, Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena (25-1, 12 knockouts), who will stay busy in a ten-round fight held at a catchweight of 211 pounds.
He will take on Patrick Ferguson from Spokane, Washington. Ferguson has a 17-2-1 record with 13 knockouts, with both of those losses coming on the road in Australia and Ghana. He has won his last three bouts and is a former US national amateur champion. He had a better 2020 than most, having already fought twice this year, so activity is on his side.
Lerena, who has wins over the likes of Micki Nielsen, Youri Kalenga, Dmytro Kucher and Firat Arslan, has different options going forward as he is highly ranked by several sanctioning bodies at both cruiserweight, as well as the WBC’s new bridgerweight class.
On paper, Ferguson should not present much of a problem, but this year has seen some massive upsets. The American represents a potential banana peel that Lerena cannot afford to slip on.
In the main supporting bout, one of the brightest rising stars in South African boxing, welterweight Jabulani Makhense, puts his undefeated record on the line against Mardochee Kuvesa Katembo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo over ten rounds.
Criticized in the past for being content to go the distance, Makhense (10-0, 5 KOs) turned tiger in his last bout in October when he blasted out the usually durable Erik Kapia inside a round.
Katembo, who has a respectable 13-3-1 record, has never been knocked out. In his last bout in October, he lost a ten-round decision to heavy handed Thulani Mbenge.
Will Makhense be able to do what Mbenge could not and be the first man to beat Katembo inside the distance?
Opening the live stream will be Roarke “Razor” Knapp, who has grown into a popular local attraction. He takes on undefeated South African champion, Simon Dladla, in a 10-round junior middleweight encounter.
Dladla won the national title by stopping Junior Makondo in two rounds in December last year and has won all but one of his six bouts by knockout.
Knapp is coming off a very impressive second round stoppage of Tristan Truter in October, bringing his record to 10-1-1 with eight knockouts. That fight was, of course, the third-place bout of the 4@War junior middleweight tournament.
This bout is an intriguing matchup of two explosive, hard hitting youngsters and could steal the show.
Ricardo “Magic Man” Malajika is another young man of whom a lot is expected. The 6-0 with five knockouts Malajika will take on 12-6-2 Rofhiwa Nemushungwa in a junior bantamweight bout over ten rounds.
Malajika had to get up from the canvass twice in his last bout to stop undefeated Mnqobi Mkhize in eight rounds. Malajika certainly has the speed, power and amateur pedigree but will he have ironed out the mistakes that was evident in his last bout?
Nemushungwa has been in against a higher level of opposition, dropping a decision to Lwandile Sityatha, last year. He also holds wins over dangerous Sabelo Ngebinyana, as well as Joshua Studdard. He should be able to provide Malajika with a stern test.
In the semi-final of the “Who will prevail?” cruiserweight tournament, undefeated Akani “Prime” Phuzi takes on Johnny “Hurricane” Muller over ten rounds. The 11-0 with five knockouts Phuzi was originally slated to meet Chris Thompson, but the latter pulled out with an injury, opening the way for Muller to step in.
Muller, a former South African light heavyweight champion who has held several regional belts, has competed as high as heavyweight, and is perhaps best known as the man who gave Kevin Lerena his only defeat. A 32-fight veteran, he is by far the more experienced man, having shared the ring with the likes of Aleksandr Usyk and Thabiso Mchunu. Win or lose, he always brings the action, and it would be interesting to see whether he can give Phuzi something to think about.
The winner will meet Lebo Mashitoa in the final, who beat Keaton Gomes for the second time in the other semi-final on the promotion’s last card in October to earn his spot.
In the opening bout, 1-0 Christian Libote takes on 0-1-0 Tsebo Malope in a four round super middleweight bout.