JOHANNESBURG – Britain’s Daniel Dubois held on to his WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title after three visits to the canvas to stop South Africa’s Kevin Lerena in the third round on the Fury-Chisora bill in Tottenham.
Dubois was knocked down by a left hook and then seemed to take a knee twice, but somehow turned the fight around and stopped South Africa’s Lerena in the third.
“That is heavyweight boxing, I had Daniel down and hurt 3 times in round 1 and in the 3rd round I was on my ass and stopped on my feet. As I fighter I really thought I could continue on as the bell went but it wasn’t my night. I will be back stronger than ever, I gave it my all” said Lerena on his social media pages.
That is heavyweight boxing I had Daniel down & hurt 3 times in round 1 & in the 3rd round I was on my ass & stopped on my feet As I fighter I really thought I could continue on as the bell went but It wasnt my night ! I WILL BE BACK STRONGER THAN EVER I gave it my all pic.twitter.com/8orZcyzgtm
Kevin Lerena (@Kevlerenaboxing) December 4, 2022
South Africa’s Kevin ‘2 Guns’ Lerena had never been dropped in his career before, but Dubois and threw several combinations before landing three heavy blows to the head that forced referee Howard Foster to stop the bout on the bell signalling the end of the third round.
Lerena and Dubois fought on the undercard of the WBC heavyweight title bout between Tyson Fury and Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Fury defended his WBC title with a 10th-round technical knockout victory over Derek Chisora.
Daniel Dubois nearly shocked, stops Kevin Lerena in third on Saturday 3 December at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Picture: BoxingScene.com/Instagram.
Dubois now finds himself in a prime position to face the winner of the proposed undisputed fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury.
Dubois had picked himself up off the canvas three times in the first-round on Saturday night to stop Lerena in the third round retaining his WBA (regular) heavyweight title as fans questioned to whether the contest should have been permitted to go on under the WBA rule set.
“It was amazing,” Dubois told BT Sport. “He caught me and I felt like my knee went. I have the heart of a warrior and listened to my team. I didn’t feel it the shot [but it] must have hit me, sh!t happens”, he said.
“I was just saying get back to your boxing and calm it down. I listened to Shane and I had to recover and I came back out stronger’, he added.
“I felt a bit rusty and I felt like I wasn’t even there at points” said Dubois to BoxingScene.com after the match.
The WBA has a three-knockdown rule which means that if a fighter is downed three times in any round, then the contest will automatically end via TKO.
According to the WBA referee manual “It is critical to note that in bouts governed by the WBA rules three (3) knockdowns in the same round automatically end the bout by TKO. Also, WBA rules specify that the bell cannot save the fighter in ANY round”.
However, the British Boxing Board of Control does not permit the rule in fights under their auspices, allowing Dubois to launch his spirited comeback.
Dubois improved to 19 wins (18 KOs) and one loss, while Lerena dropped to 28-2 (24 KOs).