Huni Pays Tribute To Veteran Lerena After Tough Learning Fight

Australian heavyweight prospect Justis Huni is now 9-0 (4 KOs) but he survived a tough test and a 10th round crisis to get by Kevin Lerena.

Huni was hurt early in the fight and in real danger of falling apart in the 10th and final round, but he managed to ride out the storm, stay on his feet and snare a decision win. 

Southpaw Lerena, inspired by the passing of his mother last week, was moments from victory and the experienced South African is now 30-3 (14 KOs) and has eyes on boxing at bridgerweight.

Huni might return to action as early as June, and admitted he took plenty from boxing Lerena at the Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia.

“Kevin’s a very tough opponent, he comes to fight, he’s got a bit of power about him when he sits down on his punches, so that was something I had to be cautious off and stay alert, when I got complacent and stopped moving my feet, I got caught, so I had to stay switched on and fortunately came away with the win,” said Huni.

When asked about the Lerena challenge, and specifically the moments of high drama, Huni paid tribute to the South African and the “constant pressure” he applied, and said they were both fatiguing late on.

“And he’s got a lot of power, obviously,” Huni added. “But other than that, I got a bit lazy and stopped moving my feet.

“It was late in the fight, it was in the 10th round, so I also think he was a bit tired, so credit to myself for pushing through those tough moments.

“I didn’t feel too badly out of it, he just rocked me a little bit and he had that killer instinct to jump on me and keep the pressure on me, but I just had to keep moving and keep my hands up.”

The 24-year-old from Queensland had not boxed for almost a year until he defeated Andrew Tabiti in Mexico at the end of last year, and now he has scalped Lerena.

“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to fight on these big cards and get another belt,” Huni said.

“I’ll have a week off and then I’ll be back in the gym getting ready for the next fight. Whoever my team puts me in with, I’ll be there and ready to fight.

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