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Kevin Lerena © Getty Images

SuperSport’s boxing bonanza



Boxing fans are in for a treat this month with an array of top-class action from around the world.

First up is a fascinating battle between hot-running South African cruiserweight Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena and left-hook merchant Youri Kalenga of France for the vacant IBO title at Emperors Palace on Saturday.

The tournament will be broadcast live on SuperSport 9 from 7.30pm.

The following week the action goes full-blown international with broadcasts from London, the Philippines and Las Vegas across a 24-hour spread.

First up is a unification bout between IBO light-flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (South Africa) and IBF title holder Milan Melindo (Philippines).

SuperSport 9 will cross to Cebu City from midday next Saturday (September 16).

At 9.30pm that same day, SS6 will broadcast the WBO middleweight championship bout between champion Billy Joe Saunders and Willie Monroe jnr.

Then it’s the turn of the big one – Gennady “GGG” Golovkin against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez – in the fight of the year, live from Las Vegas in the early hours of September 17. This will be broadcast on SS2 from 2am.

Meanwhile, both Lerena and Kalenga passed their pre-fight medicals on Tuesday and look in outstanding shape. This will be Lerena’s first title shot and he’ll be in deep against Kalenga, who has fought many of the division’s best and has a rock-solid chin.

The undercard includes an array of young guns, among them SA welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge and big-punching junior-middleweight Brandon Thysse.

Budler is the most decorated SA fighter of the past decade and he must be at his best against Melindo, who has never lost on home soil. The IBF champion is more experienced and will enjoy boisterous home support, factors that Budler must overcome if he is to add to his collection of title bouts.

In London that night, Saunders will make a return after a long absence against Monroe. Saunders was flat in his last fight, but he will be punished against Monroe if he slacks off against fellow southpaw next weekend.

Monroe is a slick, smooth-boxing operator who is used to fighting at this level and tangled with Golovkin two years ago.

Golovkin himself will be involved in a career-defining contest against Alvarez for the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC middleweight titles. The pair have 88 wins and a single defeat between them, which gives a strong indication of the excellence they will bring to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Golovkin is a wrecking ball – 23 of his last 24 fights have ended early – while Alvarez is a canny counter-puncher who will test the Kazakh in ways he has never been tested. It is, by any measure, the best fight that can made in boxing.



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