Unlucky Lerena elbowed out of April title defence

Kevin Lerena, right, has been laid low by an elbow injury. Pic: Alex van der Westhuizen

Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena is relentlessly optimistic, so he’s taken the latest bump in the road – a serious elbow injury – with customary good grace.

“These things happen for a reason,” said the IBO cruiserweight champion, who confirmed that his next title defence later this month has been postponed.

According to promoter Rodney Berman, Lerena will now fight Ukraine’s Roman Golovashchenko on June 2, after the promoter in Azerbaijan agreed to changing the April 26 date.

The inflammation around Kevin Lerena’s right elbow is clearly visible.

Lerena has bursitis in his right elbow, a painful inflammation that develops over time, in this instance flaring up in the past month.

The champion has consulted a top local orthopaedic surgeon, who is treating him with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. The surgeon told Lerena that by allowing it to fully recover, there shouldn’t be a reoccurrence.

He’s able to bend his arm, but cannot take any impact. Not that it has stopped him training. He’s still doing cardio and vascular training and works out with his right arm taped up to the extent that he reckons he’s thrown 3000 punches with his left hand during the past two days.

“I haven’t stopped training. [Trainer] Peter Smith and I find ways to work around the injury. It’s been injured for the past two to three weeks, so the expectation is I’ll be in this state for another week or so,” said Lerena. “I’m running fit and staying in shape, but obviously without throwing the right hand, my game will be off. I’m just grateful that I’ll still have the opportunity, albeit a few months later.”

Fortunately, Lerena fought early last month, so the delay won’t be overly damaging, even though he’s a fighter who likes to stay busy.

Berman says that Lerena is too valuable a commodity to push ahead with the April date and was happy to push for the postponement. “At this level, you can’t take chances. He’s clearly been in a lot of pain. I always advocate my boxers be 100 percent ready, or they don’t fight. I hope he recovers because he has a lot to offer and we have major plans.”