Heavyweight Kevin Lerena ready to take bite out of Huni after sparring with Tyson Fury

Kevin Lerena is ready to take on unbeaten Australian Justis Huni in a Heavyweight fight. Picture: Supplied

Kevin Lerena is ready to take on unbeaten Australian Justis Huni in a Heavyweight fight. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 6, 2024


Kevin Lerena can almost taste that heavyweight championship belt, and having recently sparred with Tyson Fury, he will take the next big step in Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

The 31-year-old South African southpaw will face unbeaten Australian Justis Huni in a 10-round boxing bout at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, which will be on the undercard of the big Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou heavyweight fight.

Lerena is the current World Boxing Council interim bridgerweight champion, but has set his sights on the heavyweight division once more, having previously fought Daniel Dubois for the World Boxing Association (regular) heavyweight title in London in late 2022.

His performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that December night gave him the belief that he can be a true heavyweight contender, after enjoying great success as a cruiserweight champion for many years.

Lerena – with an excellent record of 32-30-2 – had knocked down Dubois on three occasions, and a controversial third-round stoppage has motivated him to keep pushing for another title shot.

That journey begins against Huni (8-0), a 24-year-old orthodox boxer from Brisbane of Tongan descent.

“The only way he (Huni) can defeat me is if he proves superior on the day, in the ring,” said Under Armour athlete Lerena.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I have invested the time, effort and training required to emerge victorious. It all boils down to the 10 rounds and the two men who step into that ring, and I am ready for battle!”

Lerena, who is trained by Peter Smith, spent time in camp with Fury last month, and that experience inspired him to make the most of the opportunity to compete on the Joshua-Ngannou undercard.

With former heavyweight champion Joshua also trying to secure another shot at the title, Lerena – whose last fight was a points-decision win over Senad Gashi in Johannesburg in November – could be in the mix for a future bout against the British star if he beats Huni.

“As I prepare for the fight, one crucial aspect of my training regimen that I’ve dedicated myself to perfecting is enhancing my mobility and explosiveness, ensuring I’m primed to seize every opportunity in the ring,” he said.

“Throughout my training camp, spanning eight intense weeks, I’ve honed my skills and pushed my limits to prepare for the upcoming challenge.

“My recent training sessions with Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia were invaluable, as two elite athletes pushed each other to new heights, undoubtedly paving the way for the upcoming fight and opening doors to greater opportunities. In regards to mental preparation, I am ready and tuned in.”


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