Kevin Lerena confident he can upset Daniel Dubois in Fury-Chisora 3 co-feature
South African heavyweight Kevin Lerena will step into the big league when he meets touted British prospect Daniel Dubois at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday.
Dubois-Lerena will serve as the chief support to the Tyson Fury vs. Derek Chisora rubber match.
Lerena, a former crusierweight contender who only recently made the switch to heavyweight, where he holds wins over Bodgan Dinu (KO 4) and Mariusz Wach (UD 12), was only too happy to accept the opportunity and face his more fancied rival.
“It’s a massive occasion, 70,000 people at the Tottenham stadium. It’s crazy; it’s surreal,” Lerena (28-1, 14 knockouts) told The Ring. “I think it’s a great matchup. He’s a very tough competitor; I know the mountain ahead of me is a big one, but I’ve prepared adequately and am looking forward to the challenge. Champions are there to be beaten and beasts are there to be tamed.”
The 30-year-old southpaw has watched Dubois and is ready to step into the ring with the feared puncher.
“He’s good, he’s strong,” said Lerena. “He’s the WBA world champion. [Editor’s note: Dubois holds the WBA’s secondary title, which The Ring does not recognize.] He’s got a phenomenal record: 18 wins, 17 by KO. He has a high KO ratio. It’s no secret he’s a big puncher, but you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Who’s he knocked out?’ I’m very different from the guys he’s fought and I’m a true test for him. Now let’s see how good he really is.
“Of course, there’s lots of weaknesses in his game. There’s weaknesses in my game. It’s just having the ability to exploit them. Does he have the ability to exploit mine? And do I have the ability to exploit his? We’re going to have to see on December 3.”
He also points to expert sparring he’s had with heavyweight up-and-comer Martin Bakole, who has previously sparred with Dubois, which gives him an extra layer of confidence.
“He’s been a crucial part of my training camp,” said Lerena, who flew to England on November 24. “The best money I’ve spent on a sparring partner for the help, advice and the rounds of sparring for the last 20 days.”
Lerena, who is listed as an 8/1 (+800) underdog, is confident he can upset the odds.
“100 percent, I’ll be upsetting him. No one is going into a championship ring not thinking they can win, because then you’re already a loser,” said the South African. “I wholeheartedly think I can beat him.
“I’m smarter, my ring I.Q., I’m faster and I have got a lot more experience in the pro ranks than he does (Lerena has 192 rounds and Dubois has 60 rounds).”
Lerena’s promoter, Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves, has been the premier boxing promoter in Africa since the 1980s and has handled the likes of Brian Mitchell, Welcome Ncita and Vuyani Bungu.
Berman knows a thing or two about heavyweight boxing, having promoted Lennox Lewis-Hasim Rahman in South Africa back in April 2001. The veteran promoter isn’t bothered by the apparent size difference between his fighter and Dubois and quotes former middleweight champion, Harry Greb: “Big guys don’t bother me; they get in their own way.”
He goes on to examine his fighter’s chances.
“Dubois is a great fighter. Lerena has exceeded all expectations. The day of reckoning has arrived,” said Berman. “Kevin fears no fighter, he is very quick, great hand speed, great mobility.
“He is smart enough to outbox Dubois. Punchers run out of ideas. If Kevin can take Daniel’s power, he wins. The odds being offered on the fight bears no semblance to Kevin’s chances. At 8/1, [it’s] the bet of the year.”
Dubois (18-1, 17 KOs) turned professional in 2017. He steamrolled his first 15 opponents in a combined 43 rounds, collecting the British and Commonwealth titles as well as several minor sanctioning body belts. Dubois came unstuck when he lost his unbeaten record to the more experienced Joe Joyce (KO 10). The 25-year-old has rebounded with three wins, including, most recently, a stoppage over previously unbeaten Trevor Bryan (KO 4).
Fury-Chisora and undercard action will stream live on BT Sport Box Office starting at 7 p.m. in the U.K. and on ESPN at 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. PT in the U.S.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].