Home Boxing News Kevin Lerena to box on despite sudden death of his mother

Kevin Lerena to box on despite sudden death of his mother

Kevin Lerena. Photo credit: David Ritchie

Heavyweight Kevin Lerena 30-2 (14) has vowed to defeat Justis Huni 8-0 (4) in honour of his late mother who passed away this week.

The 31-year-old South African southpaw is set to face Australian Huni, 24, on the undercard of the ‘Knockout Chaos’ card headline by Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou at Kingdom Arena in Riyad, Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

Lerena posted a touching tribute to his mother on social media.

“Today I lost the strongest woman I have ever known,” he wrote. “My mom fought tirelessly as a single mom to raise us, and her strength and determination will forever inspire me. Even in her final moments, she fought until the very end. She fought with all her might. Mom, I love you.

“I will carry on your warrior spirit. Tomorrow night, I will fight in your honour because you were a lion and you raised a lion. Your fight lives on in me, and I will always carry your strength with me. Rest peacefully in God’s kingdom.”

Lerena is perhaps best known for dropping Daniel Dubois three times in the opening round of their fight before ultimately being stopped himself in the third. He has since won two fights on points against Ryad Merhy and Senad Gashi.

The slick-boxing Huni has a lot riding on the Lerena fight. A win will see him go into the mix to face either Dubois or Joe Joyce on the undercard of the undisputed light heavyweight title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol in Riyadh on June 1.

Lerena was part of Tyson Fury’s camp for his fight against WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk before the February 17 date was pushed back to May 18 after the WBC titleholder suffered a cut in sparring.

“Tyson Fury’s been telling me that Kevin is a great boxer, is going to be tough, so I need to put on a show, perform on this stage,” Huni told AAP.

“It’ll set me up, a good show here and hopefully they’re impressed by what they see from me.

“I’m a smart boxer; I’ll just do me, won’t get in front of him, just box his ears off.”

Huni plans to stay active this year and hopes to box up to four times. He knows that a win over Lerena on such a high profile card with see his stocks rise.

“I’ve still got years in this game, 10 or 11 at least,” he said.

“I’m 24 and I won’t hit my peak until I’m 35, so I’m just fortunate to be in this position and I’ll keep chipping away.

“It’s been surreal to be here mixing it with these greats, just a mad experience.”

Lerena, who entered the pros without a single amateur fight, is expecting a hard fight from Huni.

“Justis Huni is a tough competitor,” Lerena told Boxing Social. “I think he had a good amateur background, he’s eight and 0 as a pro, relatively inexperienced as a professional but he’s got good amateur experience, big strong guy, explosive, so it’s going to make for a good fight.”