Things could be looking up for Ryno Liebenberg. On the outer since back-to-back losses to elite light-heavyweight fighters Eleider Alvarez and Tommy Oosthuizen, his future plans will see him shifting to super-middleweight.
Promoter Rodney Berman confirmed as much this week, saying that the recent defeats had confirmed his long-held instinct that Liebenberg was a natural super-middleweight. He’s never struggled with the limit and will likely find the lower weight more comfortable.
Ironically, he will challenge for the vacant national light-heavyweight belt at Emperors Palace on September 19, but that’s presumably a stop-gap fight to help him win back his confidence. Don’t be surprised to see him relinquish it, in the event of him beating Makhosandile Zwengu.
Liebenberg still has much currency internationally. Both his defeats were against unbeaten boxers, one of them a former world champion, while he is ranked number 16 by the WBC.
Berman listed a range of potential options for the likeable West Rander.
WBO super-middleweight champion Arthur Abraham and world title challenger George Groves are both promoter by Wilf Sauerland, a Berman ally. Julio Cesar Chavez jnr is a free agent aligned with the PBC. There’s also Anthony Dirrell and Lucian Bute, who are also both PBC fighters. Berman said he would chase the big names to help secure Liebenberg a foothold in the division.
“After next month’s fight, he’ll drop down,” said Berman. “Ryno hits hard, is always in great condition and could be a real factor in the right division. He had a decent run at light-heavy. It’s time for something different.”