The 24 year-old, known as the ‘KO Kid’, has earned his place in the final with a TKO win over his domestic rival Johnny Muller and a unanimous points victory against the former World title challenger Roberto Bolonti.
Lerena will now take on the undefeated Danish southpaw Nielsen with the winner being crowned Champion of the ‘Super 4’ tournament and taking the lion’s share of the $100,000 prize money.
The Johannesburg native, who has been respectful in the build up to his fight with Nielsen, says he will leave his nice guy persona behind when he enters the ring as he looks to prove he is ready to challenge the best in the division.
‘’I’m a very different person when I step into the ring,’’ he says. ‘’This is the fight game, and when the bell goes I’m not a nice guy. I’ve got two hands, my opponent has got two hands, and we’re going to fight, and that’s all that matters to me. I’m not interested in mind games, I let my hands do the talking in the ring.
‘’Nielsen is a good fighter, his record speaks for itself. I may have had one loss, but I’ve avenged that. I came back and knocked the guy out afterwards.
‘’For me it’s not about proving anything, it’s about being victorious so I can look to better things in the future. I know I’m the more skilled fighter and I’m smart in the ring. I don’t just fight with my brawn, I fight with my brain.
‘’I’m not usually one for predictions, but I know when my punches land, my opponents go down, and Nielsen should be prepared for that on Saturday night.’’