SOUTH African star Kevin Lerena returns to BoxNation on Saturday when he defends his IBO cruiserweight title against unbeaten German Artur Mann in Gauteng.

The Johannesburg southpaw will be making his third defence of the title he won against Youri Kalenga in September 2017.

Many believe he is a threat to the East European monopoly in the division, and subscribers to the Channel of Champions will see for themselves this St. Patrick's day weekend.

But who is Kevin Lerena? BoxNation’s exclusive factfile gives the lowdown.

1) Kevin snubbed a lucrative career in rugby union after being offered a professional contract with the Golden Lions.

2) He owns a security company. Among the stars he has looked after on their visits to South Africa is popstar Justin Bieber.

3) Lerena’s family are well known in the horse racing world. His late father Anton was a leading trainer and his two cousins Gavin and Brandon are jockeys. Gavin is a South African champion jockey.

4) The IBO champ has been a jockey winning an amateur race at 14, but grew in size and became too big to continue. He is still involved and is a business partner of cousin Stephen Lerena who trains horses.

5) He started boxing at 16 after listening to anecdotes from his brother Mike who was once trained by Colin Nathan. Getting matched as an amateur was tough and he boxed just eight times, winning seven of those fights before turning over in his late teens.

6) Kevin is trained by Colin Smith who he met through his close friend, welterweight contender Chris Van Heerden.

7) It is hard to believe that he was so small as a kid. He was bullied at school and now travels around the Gauteng province talking at schools on his experiences and prevention.

8) His boxing ambition is to be unified cruiserweight champion by the age of 30, and he has just over four years to achieve that dream.

9) Rodney Berman is his promoter. Berman is South Africa’s greatest ever boxing promoter, working with dozens of world champions and co-promoted Lennox Lewis’s shock loss to Hasim Rahman.

10) He tested positive after failing a VADA drug test last year after signing up to the WBC Clean Boxing Programme, but medical advisors reviewed his team’s complaints and last month he was cleared.


Watch his fight with Artur Mann, live on BoxNation on Saturday night.