Cruiserweight puncher Kevin Lerena faces the fight of his life this weekend when he boxes unbeaten Dane Micki Nielsen for the Super Four title at Emperors Palace.
The Golden Gloves tournament will be broadcast live on SS7 from 8pm.
Lerena and Nielsen were both winners in the first round of the four-man contest and will square off for the $100 000 purse, with the winner getting the bigger chunk of a 60-40 split.
Both have enjoyed extended training camps and look in outstanding shape. The form going in suggests it will be Lerena’s speed and movement against Nielsen’s power and grit.
Apart from the booty on offer, Lerena is motivated by Nielsen’s top 10 world ranking. Defeating his fellow southpaw will give Lerena a springboard into the big time and the possibility of major international fights.
Included on one of the best bills of the year is Hekkie Budler’s comeback after his shock world title defeat seven months ago against Byron Rojas. He’s chosen a young, hungry fighter to try his luck against – little dynamo Siyabonga Siyo from the Eastern Cape.
Siyo, like Budler himself, is a non-stop puncher who uses angles and has an outstanding work rate. Budler may be the odds-on favourite, but any repeat of his last fight, when he was strangely lacklustre, will see him upset by the excellent prospect.
Meanwhile, after a run of six fights in America, former IBO welterweight champion Chris van Heerden will fight in SA for the first time in three years against Namibia’s Sacky Shikikutu.
The popular southpaw mixed in high-class company in the US, but the death of his promoter and the obvious benefits of fighting at home drew him back to Emperors Palace, where he fought three times previously.
Never less than supremely fit, Van Heerden will nonetheless have his hands full against Shikikutu, who has won nine of his past 10 fights.
At catchweight, there is a thrilling rematch between Nyelasani Thagambege and DeeJay Kriel over eight rounds. Kriel won in controversial fashion the first time round, but Thagambege twice had him on the canvas. Saturday night ought to settle matters.
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