Kerman Lejarraga feels ready to become the new Spanish sensation
First it was Sandor Martin’s massive upset of Mikey Garcia in a fight in which many saw only as a mild challenge for the former multiple titlist from Californian. Then came Kid Galahad’s demolishing and career-threatening defeat at the hands of 35-year-old Kiko Martinez, who summoned all of his experience and talent to produce a highlight-reel stoppage and lift his second world title in the process.
Spain has never been a boxing hotbed, although it has produced its share of titlists and serious contenders throughout the past century. But it is undeniable that Spanish boxing is having a historic streak, and junior middleweight Kerman Lejarraga (33-2, 25 knockouts) wants to conjure some of that mojo ahead of his fight against England’s Jack Flatley (17-1-1, 4 KOs) which will take place on Friday, Dec. 2 in Lejarraga’s home of Bilbao and broadcasted worldwide by DAZN.
“Honestly, we are seeing a great moment in Spanish boxing, and this is exciting,” said Lejarraga, 29, in a phone conversation minutes before hitting the scales and missing weight before making it a few minutes later in his second attempt. “Just look at Kiko (Martinez), he just won a world title and he is an example for us. He is such a hard worker, he has earned everything with dedication and hard work. He is a man I that I look up to, and guys like that help you to keep focused and hungry.”
Focus and hunger are two things that Lejarraga, nicknamed “Revolver,” will definitely need against Flatley, a man who will not be feeling the pressure to put on a show in front of his compatriots. And neither will Lejarraga, a man who has fought almost every one of his fights in his native Bilbao, and who will be appearing at the Bilbao Arena for the sixth time in his career.
Even so, Lejarraga claims to be ready for a night of fireworks from both corners.
“Flatley is a warrior, he throws a lot of punches especially early in the fight,” said Lejarraga, “and I expect a war, just like in all of my fights. We are going all the way with this.”
The moment seems to be right for all the right reasons, too.
“I am in a great moment in my career. Before my fight with (Dylan) Charrat for the European championship I made a change in my corner and I am very happy with them,” said Lejarraga, in reference to his technical decision win over Charrat after a clash of heads caused a premature end of the proceedings in the 10th round of a fight that took place back in September.
In that bout, the European junior middleweight belt (EBU) was on the line, but since the fight ended after an accidental injury the EBU decided to order a rematch. But less than 24 hours later they reversed course and allowed Lejarraga to make one voluntary defense before that rematch, and that’s how the bout against Flatley was made.
Lejarraga sees only positive signs in this whole ordeal.
“It is a very encouraging moment for me and I am ready for this,” said the colorful tattooed and ponytailed character. “We have worked as hard as we would for two fights, because we fought in September and I just took one week off before going back to the gym without any problems or pain. I think that I am feeling even better than in my previous fight,” said Lejarraga, who claims that the cut he suffered on his left eyebrow in his previous bout has fully healed.
Either on the outside or on the inside of his head, there is nothing that appears to stand in Lejarraga’s way ahead of this bout.
“Right now I am only thinking about my fight on Friday for the European championship in Bilbao,” he said. “Whatever comes after that will be great. I will be ready for great things.”