Trevor Cramer

By Trevor Cramer

Senior sports sub-editor

Lerena hungry for more after claiming WBC interim bridgerweight title

“If there are any top-10 heavyweights out there who would like to fight this little southpaw, I am ready to go!”

Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena wasted little time calling out champion Lukasz Rozanski of Poland after capturing the WBC interim bridgerweight title at a packed Emperors Palace on Saturday night.

In what could probably at best be termed an “ugly” fight, the popular South African beat fellow southpaw Senad Gashi, the German-based Albanian, by a unanimous points decision.

Lerena now has to play the waiting game until at least February when unbeaten WBC bridgerweight champion Rozanski is scheduled to defend the fledgling title against Swedish-born Badou Jack.

Speaking to SuperSportTV immediately after the fight, Lerena urged Rozanski to “sort your thing out with Badou Jack. I am waiting for you!”

Heavyweight division still an option

Not discounting the option of still competing as a heavyweight Lerena added: “If there are any top-10 heavyweights out there who would like to fight this little southpaw, I am ready to go!”

But one thing is for certain, by winning the interim strap in a fledgling weight class only recognised by the WBC, does leave him with an open door and an additional route to keep the Lerena fire burning.

It was by no means a classic all-southpaw encounter and a scrappy fight to be fair, but if anything, 31-year-old Lerena (now 30-2-14 knockouts) showed that he has the composure, guile and ring savvy to see off an awkward spoiler, which he certainly did.

Although he showed he could take a solid punch, Gashi did try and negate Lerena’s dominance at times by turning to referee Michael Griffon on numerous occasions and claiming anything from rabbit punches to low blows, which fell predominantly on deaf ears.

The tough, rugged Gashi himself was switch hitting (alter stance from southpaw to orthodox), at intervals during the fight and was prone to dipping his head into Lerena and clinching and holding but certainly did briefly show the South African glimpses of his punching power, enough to steal a few rounds on the scorecards.

The Canadian referee, who had previously been a touch lenient, did eventually lose patience with Gashi in the final round of the fight when he took a point away for a low blow and he survived a knockdown.

One of the judges, however, must have been at another fight, and elicited some puzzled expressions from the crowd, scoring the bout 114-113, with the balance of the scorecards a more accurate reflection of proceedings at 118-109 and 117-110. 

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