At only 22 years of age, undefeated World Boxing Federation All Africa Cruiserweight Champion Kevin Lerena (9-0, 6 KOs) from South Africa must be considered one of the most promising young fighters in his weight class.
Nicknamed “The Lean Mean”, the Johannesburg fighter made his professional debut in November 2011, and won seven straight bouts in convincing fashion before capturing the WBF title last September with a second round stoppage of Ghanaian puncher Ibrahim Labaran.
He has since stayed busy with a victory over previously undefeated Congolese Big Ben Marcell Mulumba, and is scheduled for another non-title fight against Argentinean Marcos Antonio Ahumada this coming Friday, August 8.
Hello Kevin. Its great to get this opportunity to get to know a little bit more about you as a person and as a fighter. Can you tell me a little bit about how your upbringing was before you started boxing?
I was very grateful for my mom and my brother and sisters, as they brought me up. I lost my father when I was young, but I’m thankful for my family who kept everything together.
I was always sporty, and tried my best to succeed in all areas. I was really a naughty kid with good intentions (laughing).
Tell me, how did you get into the sport of boxing?
I got into the sport because I was bullied between the ages of eleven and fourteen. So I decided to go to the boxing gym with my brother every morning before school. That’s when the bug bit me.
You are doing great so far as a professional, but did you also do well as an amateur boxer?
I never had a big amateur career, as I was involved in school sports, especially rugby. So I would just try my best to get down to the amateur gym, a place called Booysens. I never won any prestigious titles as an amateur, but I always stayed in the mix of things.
So, when you are not preparing for a fight, or just when you are out of the gym, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Spending time with my family and friends, and my girlfriend. I enjoy having a good braai/barbecue with quality people. I enjoy good food, and singing in the shower…
Who has been your toughest opponent?
OK, I see. So, is there someone you would really like to fight some time in the future?
Yes, in my weight division I would love to fight anyone in the top five in the world. It would be a real honor for me.
However, I especially would like to fight Alexander Usyk from the Ukraine. There has been a lot of hype around him because he won Olympic gold, but I don’t see him beating me with all the hard work I put in.
What is your ultimate goal in your career?
To stay undefeated! Take each fight step by step and to protect that big “O” on my record for as long as I can.
Do you have any final words, something you would like to get out there?
Yes, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me until now. A big thanks to my family, friends and my team – Team Smith, Sean Smith, Errol Saffy and Peter Smith.