Boxing Snippets

Lennox ‘The Lion’ to attend Lerena’s big showdown

Lennox Lewis, the last undisputed world heavyweight champion, will be ringside at Emperors Palace on November 24 when Kevin Lerena fights for the WBC interim world title.
It will be his first trip to South Africa since his famous visit in 2001 when he defended his crown against Hasim Rahman. He wants to be ringside to see Lerena first hand, which promoter Rodney Berman has arranged.
Lewis was a popular visitor and even enjoyed an audience with former president Nelson Mandela, to whom he explained why he had been knocked out by Rahman two days before.
Despite bumping heads at the time with Berman, who sagely warned him that he wasn’t taking the fight seriously enough, he and the promoter patched up.
The 2001 tournament remains in a class of its own for South African boxing. The tournament was broadcast all over the world – ESPN sent a massive crew – and ringside celebrities included Will Smith and Winnie Mandela.
The former Olympic champion conclusively won the rematch and closed out his career with victories over Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko. Along with Ingemar Johansson and Rocky Marciano, he is one of three world heavyweight champions to have retired with victories over every opponent he faced as a professional.
Five years ago, the venerable Boxing News rated him the third-greatest heavyweight of all time. And Ring magazine named him the greatest heavyweight of the past 30 years.
Said Berman: “At his best, he was unbeatable. He was hugely popular when he came to South Africa 22 years ago and although we had our differences then, he was a complete gentleman. He was a great boxer and the way he carried himself outside the ring was impeccable. I’m really looking forward to seeing him again.”
For Lerena, it also adds an edge to his challenge. Having a stellar former champion like Lewis ringside for his fight with Senad Gashi ratchets up the expectations.
The action, and Lewis’ attendance, will be shown live on SuperSport.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button