Back to working out after a fraught 2018 blighted by injury, a rehabilitated Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena has been given a date – and an opponent – for his comeback bout.
The IBO cruiserweight champion last fought in June, but action nosedived as he underwent a shoulder operation that blocked him out for the rest of last year.
But he will be back on March 16 when he fights unbeaten Patrick Ferguson of the US in his third title defence, at Emperors Palace.
Ferguson (14-0-1, 11 KOs) came late to boxing, but has enjoyed substantial success, like in 2015 when he won the US amateur heavyweight championship after just 10 fights.
He then went on a 10-fight winning run after turning pro, all 10 fights ending early.
Damon Reed apart, there are no big names on his record, although his trainer, active heavyweight Chauncy Welliver, warns that Ferguson is a tough customer.
“He gets stronger when he gets hit,” said Welliver, who himself has mixed with the like of Sonny Bill Williams, Lucas Browne and Bert Cooper said. “When you hit Pat, he’ll hit you 10 times — and harder. He’s a little stubborn that way. He has to get in the last punch. It’s almost like he takes offence.”
Earlier this year, Ferguson was summoned to Big Bear where he helped IBF champion Marat Gassiev prepare for his showdown with Oleksandr Usyk.
Said promoter Rodney Berman: “We’re all curious to see how Lerena will go after a long break, which in March will be nine months. Ferguson is no soft touch, having established a reputation as one of the danger men in the division.”
It’s early days still, but Berman is looking to also feature Thabiso Mchunu, Jabulani Makhense and Keaton Gomes.