After an injury setback, Kevin Lerena gets back to serious business next week when he begins sparring for his June 2 IBO cruiserweight title defence in Azerbaijan.
Lerena was thrown off track after a nasty case of bursitis in his elbow, but he’s been given the all-clear to resume full training.
Not that he’s slacked off. Recent weeks have seen him get stuck into base training, working on game plans, skills and plenty of cardio work, ensuring he’ll be fitter than ever for his fight against Roman Golovashchenko.
“The injury responded well and I’m not uncomfortable at all,” said the southpaw after doing road work on Thursday morning. “I’ve felt good on the heavy bag, but I guess the real test will come during sparring.”
Despite a dearth of top-quality cruiserweights to work with, trainer Peter Smith has lined up a couple of strong Congolese and has also reached out to SA-based Ukrainian Vlad Sirenko.
Lerena says he wouldn’t mind working out with new Gauteng champion Akani Phuzi, who demonstrated good power in knocking over Chris Thompson at the weekend.
“I like Akani and Thompson too,” Lerena remarked about the new boys on the cruiserweight block. “If Chris learns from his mistakes, he can get back. He’s a decent fighter with a great physical structure. The loss needn’t be the end of the road.”
With a little more than a month to go, Lerena is itching to get back into the ring. He knows that big opportunities await, so long as he keeps winning.
“I’m ready to win and to discover what’s next,” he says with typical enthusiasm. “There are good fighters out there; I’ll fight any of them to advance my career.”