Boxing Snippets

‘He’s there to be hit, I plan on doing the hitting’ – Ryno

Ryno 5
Ryno Liebenberg tees off against Eleider Alvarez in Monte Carlo. Pic: Nick Lourens

Ryno Liebenberg has a greater fear of becoming a stepping stone for aspirant light-heavyweights than he does under-performing against Erik Skoglund later this month.

More thoughtful than he’s ever given credit for, Liebenberg accepts that losing two of his last three fights puts him dangerously in the class of becoming a division gatekeeper. It’s not the worst position in boxing, but he still has championship ambitions.

Four times he’s fought top 10 fighters and he’s 2-2 in those fights, having beaten Denis Grachev and Joey Vegas, but lost to Eleider Alvarez and Tommy Oosthuizen. Another defeat would seriously puncture his status as a fighter worthy of a title shot.

“It puts pressure on me,” he admits. “This guy’s in the top 10, but so were Grachev and Vegas. Mentally, Skoglund has never been up against anyone like me. I’ve been there. Only Glen Johnson had any sort of name and Derek Edwards was a one-hit wonder, KO’ing Badou Jack.”

Liebenberg has watched tapes of the Swede’s last two fights, commending him for fast hands and feet, but is less impressed with other aspects of his game.

“I don’t think he’s so good. He got hit with big punches against Edwards. I read the reviews, which said he performed, but I saw nothing special. He’s nothing like Alvarez or Tommy, who set traps. He’s there to be hit. I plan on doing the hitting. Skoglund has been matched so carefully, wrapped in cotton wool.”

Training is going exceptionally. A bulked up Johnny Muller – “he’s lekker warm” – and Alfonso Tissen give him tremendous work in sparring.

Liebenberg leaves for Europe next Sunday and is anxious only about the frosty weather that awaits in Stockholm.

“The hostile crowd and being away from home doesn’t really bother me. The only thing is I’m fighting a national hero. He’ll get the decision when the rounds are close, I know this. But there will be international TV. People will see if I get robbed.

“It’s just cold there. The weather could bother me. But I’m there to do a job, not to see the sights.”




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