Arriving in Goeppingen, Germany with youth and strength on his side, South African IBO junior heavyweight champion, Kevin Lerena, overcame the experienced Firat Arslan.
The 49-year-old Arslan, who is a former WBA cruiserweight champion, could simply not match the tenacity and power of 27-year-old Lerena. The South African battered his challenger to a sixth-round stoppage on Saturday night at the EWS Arena with a barrage of right jabs and following with left cross right hooks.
The battle of southpaws saw Lerena (90.60kg) make a confident and fast start in the opening round, boxing from behind his right jab against the tentative Arslan (90.20kg), who could not get a decisive punch in through six rounds. The pattern continued through rounds two to five as Arslan shuffled forward with gloves covering his face.
When a big left hand from Lerena shot out and dealt a heavy blow which jolted the challenger’s head back in the fifth round, the writing was well on the wall. Lerena continued to punish Arslan in his corner in the sixth round with a number of right and lefts to the head before his corner threw in the towel.
Arslan complained bitterly after the stoppage but he was onto quite a beating and showed no signs of his vaunted punching power, instead, only fighting in survival mode. Lerena improved his record to 25-1 with 12 KO’s while Arslen’s was relegated to 47-9-3; 32.