Boxing: Kevin Larena vs. Firat Arslan
The IBO Cruiserweight title will be defended on Saturday, February 8 at the EWS Arena in Goeppingen, Germany. The fight will see South African heavy puncher Kevin ‘The KO Kid’ Lerena face German veteran Firat Arslan in a bout that is scheduled to go for 12 rounds. The fight is an interesting one with the champion agreeing to face a challenger in his home country. This is part of Lerena’s vow to be a fighting champion, someone who will take on all challengers wherever they are and whenever they want to take him on.
Arslan will be looking to make a little bit of boxing history in this Saturday bout. The former WBA cruiserweight titleholder – Aslan held that strap from 2007 to 2008 is fighting Lerena for the IBO title in his 59th fight at the age of 49. If Arslan were to pull off one of the boxing shocks of the year and defeat the heavily favored South African, then the German of Turkish descent would unseat Bernard Hopkins and become the oldest world champion of all time. As unlikely as it is that Arslan can pull off a victory here, it is worth noting that he hasn’t lost a single fight since 2014 – a total of 14 fights since his last defeat – and that he seems to have found a fountain of youth to actually increase his stamina and overall boxing performance as he hit a point in his career where his skills should be receding.
Arslan (47-8-3, 32 KO’s) is fighting for another title eleven years after first claiming professional boxing gold. Lerena (24-1. 11 KO’s) figures to be a tough nut for the veteran to crack. Lerena has taken down a number of unbeaten fighters in his career, with wins over the likes of Sefer Seferi, Artur Mann, and Vasil Ducar. The only blemish on the 27-year-old’s record was a 2014 loss to fellow South African Johnny Muller. Lerena was able to bounce back quickly from this setback and he was able to avenge that particular demon when in 2016 he stopped Muller in the 10th round in their rematch.
The No. 5 ranked cruiserweight in the world by The Ring, Lerena is looking for a dominant win here over a former world champion to put his name in the conversation for bigger paydays – and a shot at more prestigious title belts – in the not too distant future. The southpaw will not be taking this fight lightly against a big punching opponent who won his last bout in three rounds over Sami Enbom back in September.
Lerena is the massive favorite here and for good reason. He is just 0.09 with BetXChange while you can have the overmatched Arslan at 4.38 if you fancy a wild stab in the dark. We can’t see anything other than a dominant Lerena win here – even with the fight taking place in Arslan’s backyard – and we fully expect Lerena to make quick work of the German and move on to bigger and better things.
There is no value in taking Lerena, but we expect the favorite to retain his title.