South Africa’s Kevin Lerena is heavily favored as he prepares to face Senad Gashi in a thrilling clash for the interim WBC Bridgerweight title at the Emperors Palace near Kempton Park this Saturday night.
This is a huge deal for South African boxing, with one of its best representatives trying to get back in the mix for big spectacles and championship belts. Lerena is one of the country’s best boxers in this century, and a win here would surely award him a chance to jump in the world rankings.
Lerena and the South African Boxin Legacy
At 31 years old, Lerena (29-2; 14 KOs) enters the ring with an impressive track record, including a recent triumph over the Ryad Merhy. Although he experienced a setback against Daniel Dubois in London for the WBA secondary heavyweight title, being stopped in the third round, it is worth noting that Dubois experienced three knockouts during the match. Unfortunately, the three-knockdown rule wasn’t included in this fight; otherwise, Lerena would have emerged as the victor and claimed the WBA title. Sometimes, small contract details are of massive value, and we are sure that Lerena learned his lesson here.
Kevin 'The KO Kid' Lerena steps into the ring to face off against Senad Gashi for the WBC Interim Champion 🔥 pic.twitter.com/APVSiyQQAi
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) November 22, 2023
Since Dingaan Thobela 23 years ago, Lerena is the first guy from South Africa to step up and fight for the WBC title. Thobela was better than Glenn Catley back then, and Lerena hopes to repeat such a success and bring glory to his country. That’s why this event carries a massive significance. There haven’t been too many bouts on South African soil, as well as WBC champs. Apart from Thobela, the only other was Thulani Malinga.
We must mention that Lerena won’t be the sole ruler of the WBC Bridgeweight division in case of triumph. He will co-champ with Poland’s Lukasz Rozanski, who has to defend his title against Badou Jack until February.
Following this contest, the organization will most definitely have to organize a unification bout, with the winner receiving a chance to fight the best names in the division.
With the presence of Malinga, Thobela, and former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis at ringside, this promises to be an unforgettable evening for South African boxing, full of tension and excitement.
What About Gashi?
On the opposite corner stands challenging Gashi, 33, who was born in Pec, Serbia. Since making his professional debut in May 2014, he has compiled an impressive record of 27 victories and three losses. Twenty-six triumphs came via KO, displaying his undeniable power, and an astonishing 96% knockout ratio.
Those three defeats came against Tom Schwarz, Carlos Takam and Derek Chisora, against whom he lost via decision. As you can see, all of these rivals are prominent names in the boxing world, which is why many believe that Gashi pumped his record on fighters who aren’t near the division’s elite.
We estimate that Lerena will probably defeat Gashi via KO in the opening few rounds. This may sound cocky, but when looking at the overall picture, the South African fighter is better, has more skills, and his cardio is at a higher level. Lack of experience was why he lost to Dubious, and after that lesson learned, we’re more than sure that he won’t miss this chance to bounce back and attack the top again.
Here are the odds for this event.