South Africa’s Kevin Lerena boxed his way to a 12-round unanimous points decision over the fancied Ryad Merhy from the Côte D’Ivoire, at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday night, to win the WBC bridgerweight silver title and the eliminator for the WBC bridgerweight world title.
The scores were - Judge Eddie Pappoe 118-110, Judge Thabo Spampool 116-112 and Judge Daniel van der Welie 115-113.
Through the first three rounds, there was little in it as both fighters boxed cautiously working for openings and only scoring with the odd punch.
In round four Lerena (100.75kg) fighting off the front foot from the southpaw stance did enough to shade the round.
This pattern continued through rounds five to seven and in the eighth round Larena scored with shots to the body to finish strongly.
Lerena continued to move forward to score with measured shots against Merhy (98.75kg) who was unable to work out the southpaw stance of the South African.
Lerena remained in control to the twelfth round with very little coming back from the highly rated and fancied Merhy who was outthought and outboxed by the South African.
Lerena improved his record 29-2; 14 and Merhy’s record dropped to 31-2; 26.
Lerena has now earned the right to challenge the current WBC bridgerweight champion Lukasz Rozanski from Poland.
KEATON GOMES RETAINS SOUTH AFRICAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Making the first defence of his South African heavyweight title Keaton Gomes (102.60kg) had to come back from a badly cut eye to stop Joshua Pretorius (107.65kg) in the fourth round.
Gomes made a fast start as he took the fight to the slow-moving Pretorious through rounds one to three.
In the fourth round, Gomes scored with a big right hand that sent the challenger down and out against the ropes as referee Jaap van Niewenhuizen waved the fight off at 1 minute 10 seconds in the round.
Junior flyweight: Beaven Sibanda W tko 2 Sandile Wessels.
Junior bantamweight: Ndabazinhle Nkosi W pts 4 Miranda Malajika.
Junior welterweight: Ntethelelo Nkosi W pts 6 Gift Bholo.
Welterweight: Keanu Koopman W rsf 2 Pieter de Klerk.
The tournament was presented by Golden Gloves Promotions.