What South Africans Can Take Home From Kevin Lerena vs Artur Mann

Why the country needs to get behind him, according to Lerena's strength and conditioning coach.

Nadim Nyker |

Kevin Lerena made South Africa proud on Saturday night when he beat German boxer Artur Mann in spectacular fashion. The 26-year-old brought 28-year-old Mann to his knees in just four rounds, with Lerena looking faster, stronger and smarter than Mann.

Related: How Pro SA Boxer Kevin Lerena Gets Into Fighting Form

MH was ringside with #TeamLerena (AKA Team South Africa) and caught all of the pre-and-post-fight action. (Missed it? Just check out our social media.) Kevin Lerena’s strength and conditioning coach and former MH cover guy, Joshua Capazorio, gave us the low-down on what he thought of the fight, why it was Lerena’s best to date and why South Africa has a new national hero.

With Lerena celebrating his 21st professional win, Capazorio couldn’t be prouder. “It was a phenomenal fight for Kevin, a well-deserved one,” says the the trainer, who owns strength and conditioning gym Performance Purist. “He only kept warming up as the rounds went on. He felt out the first round in true Kevin form, and he just kept opening up. He hurt him, he broke him down, and he could have gone for another ten rounds, easily.”

“South Africa needs to be proud, South Africa stand up for Kevin Lerena!”

And a South African being the IBO Cruiserweight Champion of The World is an incredible feat, one that could grow the sport in SA, Capazorio says. “The country can only be proud, this is our national hero at the moment, this guy will take the country places, boxing needs him, SA needs him.”

For now, it’s all about recovery for Lerena, who fights his next fight in June. “We know the date, we just don’t know which country,” Lerena told MH after the fight. With the the Cruiserweight Champion said to be gaining attention from some of boxing’s biggest names.

As for now, “we’ll go back to the drawing board,” says Capazorio, who also forms part of head coach Peter Smith’s training team for Lerena. “We’ll have a look, I’ll get feedback from [Lerena], we’ll break it all down. But right now, I can’t see anything that was wrong. Except for the fact that the opponent didn’t take him the distance, so we couldn’t even see any weaknesses.”

As for Artur Mann, he has tasted defeat after 15 straight wins. The German-based Kazakhstani occupies the 10th spot in the IBF rankings and 4th in the WBO rankings, while Lerena is rated 11th by the WBA and the IBF rankings.

An incredible fight for Lerena, indeed! “I don’t  have kids yet, but it must be the same,” Capazorio ended off by saying. “Today, he just stole my heart, because he just showed me a true athlete, a purist.”

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