Rankings boost for Lerena and Mbenge

WBC top-tenner Kevin Lerena. Pic: Alexis van der Westhuizen

Mission accomplished!

Having travelled to Kiev with the plan to secure top World Boxing Council rankings for Thulani Mbenge and Kevin Lerena, Rodney Berman confirmed on Tuesday that this had been achieved.

“Kevin will be rated number seven in the cruiserweights, with Thulani at nine, sandwiched between Amir Khan and Jeff Horn,” said Berman from Ukraine, where he is attending the WBC convention.

Heavyweight royalty: former champions Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis at the WBC convention.

It’s a breakthrough for two of SA boxing’s biggest stars, especially with their respective divisions among the sport’s most exciting.

There was bitter-sweet news for Lerena, who, Berman was assured, would have been in the World Boxing Super Series but for injury. Nonetheless, he is a confirmed standby for the next edition, which begins in November.

“He’s a hot property, because of his charisma, his excellent record and his talent, plus he’s a fresh new face,” said Berman. “I’m looking forward to him fighting injury-free next year.”

The promoter has also arranged a spot on a Lou DiBella show in the US in February for Mbenge, which places a premium on him winning his title defence in December.