Lerena is new cruiserweight champion

Victorious: Kevin Lerena celebrates one of his wins. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images
Victorious: Kevin Lerena celebrates one of his wins. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images

Kevin Lerena was crowned the new IBO cruiserweight champion after beating French-Congolese Youri by a split points decision last night.

Two judges scored the bout 116-113; 117-111 for Lerena while the thrird had it 115-113 for Kalenga.

The encounter got off to a fast run with Lerena catching Kalenga with body shots, but the visitor retaliated with powerful body bullets to keep the South African on the back foot.

But Lerena used his superior work rate in the latter rounds to score more points.

In another exciting fight on the bill, Thulani Mbenge stretched his unbeaten run to 12 bouts by beating challenger Mziwoxolo Ndwayana by a unanimous points decision to retain his SA welterweight crown.

All three judges scored the fight in favour of the champion by 119-108.

The fight took off at a blistering run with Mbenge dictating the pace by catching his opponent with some telling body shots that kept Ndwayana on the back foot for the better part of the fight.

Mbenge’s powerful right hook sent Ndwayana to the canvas in the third round, but the challenger got up to beat the count.

From thereon, it was Mbenge all the way as he connected with body shots to send his foe running around the ring in a bid to avoid the kingpin’s onslaught. Mbenge followed up by connecting well with great bombs to unsettle his clearly tired and out-of-sorts opponent.

Nkululeko Mhlongo retained his SA junior middleweight title by beating challenger Brandon Thysse by a tenth-round technical knockout in the earlier bout of the evening.

Referee Simon Mokadi stopped the fight after the relatively inexperienced Thysse received too much punishment from the unforgiving KwaZulu-Natal-based title holder.

The fight got off to a fast pace with Mhlongo dictating terms by catching the inexperienced Thysse with powerful shots to keep the challenger on the backfoot.

Mhlongo has now stretched his record to 21 wins with five defeats from bouts. Thysse, who is trained by veteran Harold Volbrecht, has now had one defeat from 10 bouts.

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