Two of SA’s world champions Kevin Lerena and Thulani Mbenge will risk their IBO titles in June and July respectively in crucial bouts which will define their next steps.
Fresh from an impressive fourth round demolition of capable Khazakhstan-born German Artur Mann just less than a month ago, Lerena will step into the ring again on June 8 defending his cruiserweight crown against Czech Republic- born Vasil Ducar at Emperors Palace.
Mbenge will travel to Germany for his first fight abroad, where he will defend his IBO welterweight title against fellow unbeaten star Sebastian Formella in Hamburg on July 6.
Although Ducar will come with a novice record of eight fights with seven wins, he has an extensive amateur background having fought more than 80 bouts.
The 29-year-old has also gained valuable experience in kickboxing and mixed martial arts where he displayed his remarkable power by winning the majority of his fights by knockouts.
This convinced him to cross over to boxing where he seems to have retained his power, having knocked out six of his victims.
He will challenge a boxer who is still basking in the glory after registering his 22nd win against a single loss, with a sensational fourth round knock out of previously unbeaten Mann a few weeks ago.
While Ducar may be dismissed as cannon fodder for Lerena, fight promoter Rodney Berman whose Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) will organise the fight has warned him against underestimating the Czech
“These European guys especially those fighting in heavy divisions, know how to fight,” he said.
Berman will add a tasty WBA Pan African junior welterweight title clash between newly crowned Jabulani Makhense and Michael Mokoena on the undercard.
Mbenge will come out of his Emperors Palace comfort zone and go to his opponent’s backyard as he is looking to expand his popularity to Europe.
While Mbenge is also unbeaten in 15 bouts, his challenger has fought five times more with no opponent coming close to blemish his 20 fights winning streak.
To familiarise himself with African opposition, Formella beat Namibian Betuel Ushona in his last fight in December last year.
Mbenge was last in action when he scored a 10th round stoppage of Mexican challenger Miguel Vasquez to retain his crown also in December last year.
“We have absolute confidence that Mbenge will retain his title. We will then unleash him to America,” added Berman.