Kevin Lerena out to make heavyweight statement against Mariusz Wach
News reached The Ring at that Kevin Lerena will have his second fight at heavyweight against veteran former world title challenger Mariusz Wach at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa on September 17.
Lerena, who was a world-rated cruiserweight before moving up to heavyweight earlier this year, welcomes the opportunity to face someone of Wach’s stature.
“He’s a tough competitor and a real step up for me,” Lerena (27-1, 14 knockouts) told The Ring. “He’s very experienced, he’s a big man, he’s a true heavyweight, he’s one of the biggest heavyweights on the scene at the moment. He’s going to be a tough guy to beat but I believe I have the goods to beat him.
“He’s a very respectable opponent and he’s fought big names. It’s a must win fight for me. I think he’s going to bring a lot of experience to the table and how I deal with that is the most important thing. I’ve got to be smart, sharp and fast, as I always am. I have to keep my defense tight because in the heavyweight game there’s no time to make mistakes.”
The 30-year-old southpaw looked good stopping Bogdan Dinu (KO 4) in his official heavyweight debut back in March.
Lerena’s promoter, Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves, is looking forward to seeing how his fighter deals with someone the stature of Wach.
“Wach is much heavier in weight and at 6ft 7, will have a six-inch height advantage,” said Berman. “Wach is a great benchmark test, very tough, having only lost to quality fighters, and then all of them knew they were in a fight.
“While Kevin lacks size he is fast adopting the Mike Tyson style of fighting and makes up for lack of size with speed that is unique in the heavyweight division, and an authoritative power, being very elusive and difficult to hit. The fight will be an excellent indicator of Lerena’s prospects in the heavyweight division.”
Wach (36-8, 19 KOs) has been a professional since 2005. He won his first 27 fights before losing to unified heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko (UD 12) in 2012. After returning to the win column with four wins he was stopped by Alexander Povetkin (TKO 12). The Polish fighter has also lost to the likes of Jarrell Miller (TKO 9), Dillian Whyte (UD 10), Hughie Fury (UD 10) and, more recently Arslanbek Makmudov (KO 6).
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