No-one ever has an easy fight against Ryno Liebenberg.
A product of the West Rand’s hard streets, he’s a natural fighter for whom a good scrap comes naturally.
Now 32 and with a solid professional career behind him, he knows that his fighting days can’t continue much longer. But he won’t go without a couple of more thrills, as he hopes to demonstrate against Enrico Koelling in a fight for the WBA Intercontinental crown in Germany tomorrow night.
The tournament, headed by regular WBA light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braemer against Nathan Cleverly, will be broadcast on SuperSport 7 from 8pm.
Liebenberg has had rotten luck on the overseas circuit. First he ran into a rampant Eleider Alvarez two years ago and was cut to pieces. More recently, he had a nip and tuck fight against Erik Skoglund and came up short on the judges’ scorecards, which looked a little iffy.
He knows he cannot afford another close call tomorrow. This is why he intends to jump on Koelling early, applying as much pressure as he can to throw the German off his game plan.
Koelling has a reputation as a fighter prepared to stand and trade, which is meat and vegetables to Liebenberg, who thrives on aggression. He won’t have to go in search of Koelling, which will suit him just fine.
Liebenberg has excellent fundamentals, but he’ll be the first to admit that he’s no Sugar Ray Leonard. There are no silky moves and if he has to take a punch to land one, so be it. He has an excellent chin and his conditioning is outstanding, so he’s able to look after himself.
Koelling, though, is younger and comes with a long and impressive amateur pedigree that includes Olympic participation.
The result may come down to the action being in Koelling’s back yard. The South African, though, isn’t in the business of wondering what might have been. He’ll be giving his all, as usual, and hoping to make the night a memorable one.