Lerena wins IBO cruiserweight crown

Kevin 'Two Guns' Lerena (right) on the offensive. Photographer: Nick Lourens.

Lerena was crowned the new IBO cruiserweight champion via split decision at Emperors Palace on September 9.

It came as no surprise that the final decision would be a split one in the evening’s main event because the France-based Kalenga also had big moments over the course of the 12-round bout.

One judge awarded the fight in his favour with a score of 117-111 while the other two officials handed it to Lerena with scores of 116-113 and 115-113.

Kalenga enjoyed a better start than his opponent, going for the early onslaught but Lerena’s defence was equal to the attack.

It was a composed and superior showing by the new champion, whose connections did more damage than Kalenga’s – despite the DRC fighter throwing more punches.

The build-up of the fight promised an entertaining bout between two proud pugilists and that is what it proved to be. Lerena also had the more experienced Kalenga in trouble numerous times with his powerful hooks, but Kalenga’s strength saw him through.

The result improved Lerena’s record to 18-1; 9 while Kalenga’s dropped to 23-4; 16.

In the main undercard fight, SA welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge shone as he’s been doing in a few of his recent bouts when he proved to be too good for Mziwoxolo Ndwayana over 12 rounds. The entertaining Mbenge won via unanimous decision.

Full results:

Cruiserweight -Antonello Maree vs Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson won with a TKO in the 2nd round.

Super Middleweight – Benjamin Nhlabetse vs Rowan Cambell: Rowan Cambell won with a TKO in the 4th round.

SA Junior Middleweight Championship – Nkululeko Mhlongo vs Brandon Thysse: Nkululeko Mhlongo won with a TKO in the 10th round.

SA Welterweight Championship – Thulani Mbenge vs Mzwixolo Ndwayana: Thulani Mbenge retained his title with unanimous point decision.

Vacant IBO Cruiserwight World Title – Kevin Lerena vs Youri ‘El Toro’ Kalenga: Kevin Lerena won the vacant title by a split point decision.

Sabelo Mashego
Sports Journalist

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