After his fourth-round stoppage win over the much heavier and bigger Bogdan Dinu of Romania at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park last Saturday night, for the vacant WBA Intercontinental heavyweight title it has been reported that the WBA have now listed South Africa’s Kevin Lerena at No 13 in their latest heavyweight rankings.
The 35-year Dinu 20-4; 16 who at one time was rated at No 3 heavyweight in the world by the WBA, came to South Africa with good credentials, with only three losses on his record against top heavyweights like Jarrell Miller, Kubrat Pulev and Daniel Dubois who is currently rated at No 1 by the WBA.
Going into the fight against Dinu most of the critics felt that the best possible result for the 30-year-old Lerena 27-1; 14 would be a hard-earned points win against an opponent who had competed at the world level as a heavyweight, against the South African who was having only his second fight in the division, after a long and successful career at junior heavyweight, winning the IBO belt and making six successful defences.
However, the super fit and well-conditioned Lerena coming into the ring to a big roar from his fans weighing in at 104.78kg looked the part as a fully-fledged heavyweight. There was very little in the fight through the first two rounds but in round three the South African picked up the pace and dominated before scoring a knockout at 2 minute 59 seconds in the fourth round, when it looked like Dinu (114.4gkg) had quit.
Despite the rather pathetic showing by Dinu, the South African did what he had to do and looked good at. Speaking to promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions he mentioned that he is at present negotiating for a possible heavyweight fight for Lerena in the United Kingdom in August and then again in November at Emperors Palace. Looking through the latest WBA heavyweight ratings Oleksandr Usyk is the super champion and Trevor Bryan the secondary champion.
The other fighters listed from No 1 to twelve, above Lerena at thirteen are Daniel Dubois, Michael Hunter, Robert Helenius, Hughie Fury, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Agit Kabayel, Arslanbek Makhmudov, Zhan Kossobutskiy, Martin Bankole, Andy Ruiz Jr. and Joseph Parker. Reading through the list there is no doubt that Lerena could hold his own against several of the fighters listed.