Lerena and Merhy go face-to-face in WBC World Title Eliminator this weekend
Apollo Brands PTY LTD, the official distributor of Under Armour in South Africa, is thrilled to stand firmly behind the unstoppable force that is Under Armour Athlete, Kevin Lerena, as he steps into the spotlight for what promises to be his most challenging campaign yet. Kevin Lerena, known for his southpaw (L) stance, heads to Emperors Palace to face Ryad Merhy, an Ivorian-born Belgian boxer. But he hasn't reached this point without putting in the hard yards and intense training leading up to the big event. With an admirable work ethic, Kevin has been utilizing every opportunity to maximize his training efforts, with Under Armour firmly in his corner. Saturday 13th May 2023 marks the big date as Lerena and Merhy come face to face in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds in the Heavyweight division, taking place at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. At 31-years old, the Under Armour athlete steps into the ring with a record of 28 wins, 2 loses and 0 draws, 14 of those wins coming by the way of knock out – a resume bound to make any opponent break a sweat.
With a mere 4cm height advantage over Merhy, Lerena is arguably the more experienced fighter having made his debut in 2011, 1 year and 6 months earlier than Merhy, having fought 40 more professional rounds than Merhy's 155.
As an Under Armour Athlete, Kevin has brought a fresh, new perspective as to what Under Armour look for in an athlete. Kevin has been an integral part of the brand’s growth in South Africa, authenticating the realm of TRAINING to COMPETE and personifying mental toughness through his unwavering tenacity for athletic greatness. As a professional athlete in a professional setting, it was evident that such a deserving athlete would attract mutual professional support. This is why Under Armour takes pride in being the team behind Kevin Lerena and his trade. On Monday 8th May 2023, Under Armour South Africa brought both WBC World Eliminator fighters together for the first time ahead of the highly anticipated battle, as media were afforded the opportunity and access to a first-hand glance as to what the public can expect ahead of the weekend battle.
When asked if after two years Kevin feels stronger and more ready to have this fight against Ryad Merhy, he confidently responded with, ‘Am I bigger, am I better? Of course, you know, in two years we’ve evolved a lot and I am sure he has also, so it’s going to be a good fight. Ryad Merhy is a tough competitor, we know that he is a good fighter, but the best must fight the best and I’ve always put my hand up for that, I’m not scared of anybody, and I’m just really excited for the fight! If you don’t believe in yourself, if you have any doubt in yourself, you shouldn’t be getting in the boxing ring – these are two warriors that will be going to war on Saturday night, and may the best man win. Do I feel like the best man? Most definitely,” ends Kevin.
Kevin’s career success to date is largely chalked up to his fastidious and relentless commitment to conditioning and preparation. ‘If I ever lose a fight, it will only be because my opponent is a better fighter. It will never be due to fitness”, proclaims Kevin. He continues, “Partnering with Under Armour at the beginning of my career was a no-brainer, as their gear supports my relentless training regime and effectively makes me a better athlete. I had a career defining loss and now it’s time we go on that upward trajectory again with a career defining win. This victory will mean the world to me as it will jet star us straight into the stratosphere where we belong amongst all the world champions and we’ll get another shot at the heavyweight championship of the world!”
When asked to provide input on how to ‘cultivate a winning edge’, Kevin provided the following informative points: 1) Take on the Opponent The size of your component should never matter to you– as a professional, you should be able to take on anyone. I keep in my mind’s eye that the man in front of me is fighting to take my career away; to take food from my kids. I hold onto this raw emotion and won’t let that happen. Aside from working hard up to the day of the fight, I strive to remain positive and never – not for a moment – doubt my ability to win.
2) Gym Time and Fighting Focus The physical preparation is rigorous. I train 8 to 10 hours a week, some days for one session and other days for two sessions. I need to spend at least 1.5 hours in the boxing gym each day, while conditioning lasts ideally for 45 to 60 minutes. Each pre-fight training camp has a slightly different format – what’s key is the team you have around you and how good they are at helping you implement the training and game plan to perfection. 3) Keeping the Faith I’ve never been knocked out, probably because I work so hard on my defence and the ability to duck and dive the punches. Your mental ability – your positivity and the strategies you use – will certainly help you get back up after a defeat. Surrounding myself with people who, themselves, cultivate a positive mindset is a massive bonus in the time prior to a big fight.
“I COME TO WIN – YOU KNOW, MY LAST FIGHT I LOST AND I HADN’T LOST IN 8 YEARS, SO I AM HUNGRIER, I AM SMARTER, I’VE TAKEN A LOT OF LESSONS AFTER THAT LOSS AND I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO VICTORY. I KNOW HOW GOOD RYAD MERHY IS, BUT THE HIGHER THE LEVEL OF MY OPPONENT, THE HIGHER I CAN CLIMB, SO I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FIGHT. AND, I WILL BE VICTORIOUS!”
By day, Kevin Lerena is a talented boxer with aspiring dreams. By night, the proud South African works as a paramedic for Emer-G-Med saving people’s lives. But, the most coveted title on his resume is that of “dad”, which he proudly puts at number one on the list as a doting father of three. When it comes to family, Lerena uses one word to describe his life, which is “blessed”. 13th May 2023 – it’s set to be action-packed, full of heat, packing a punch, and seated to capacity with #TeamLerena supporters. The event starts at 19:00 with Kevin expected to take centre court around 21:00 at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park. For tickets, contact Marie on 061 444 5021.
KEVINS LAST 5 FIGHTS - HISTORY 3rd December 2022 – which was his most recent fight, he lost to Daniel Dubois by technical knockout in the 3rd round in their WBA World Heavyweight championship fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, United Kingdom. 17th September 2022 - Kevin had defeated Mariusz Wach by unanimous decision in their 12 round contest at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, South Africa. 26th March 2022 – Kevin successfully beat Bogdan Dinu by knockout in the 4th round at Emperors Palace, Gauteng. 19th December 2020 – Kevin won against Patrick Ferguson by technical knockout in the 5th round at Emperors Palace, Gauteng. 8th February 2020 - Kevin beat Firat Arslan by technical knockout in the 6th round at EWS Arena, Germany.