Cape Town - Unbeaten Ryno Liebenberg faces the toughest fight of
his career on Saturday when he fights Russia’s Denis Grachev for the vacant WBC
Silver light-heavyweight belt at Emperors Palace.
Liebenberg and Grachev have engaged in a war of words
for months, first via social media and more latterly face to face, but they
will have to put the talking aside when the action starts in the “Silver Salvo”
tournament. Neither is a classical boxer, preferring to fight and throw bombs.
Indeed, none of Liebenberg’s last three opponents saw
the second round and he will be looking to make it KO number four.
Grachev has kept better company in his career, having
fought champions Lucian Bute and Zsolt Erdei, but he is coming off two losses
and is desperate to salvage his championship hopes.
Chris Byrd, the former two-time heavyweight champion
who now trains Grachev, expects a hard fight.
“It will be a good bout against an undefeated guy who
wants to stay undefeated.
"We know it will be tough. I was a defensive-minded
fighter and I’m a defensive-minded trainer.
"Boxing is about self-defence. I’ve
worked on countering shots and throwing more . . . being smart and intelligent.
"Can you avoid punches? Can you break a guy down? Can you be intelligent in the
ring? Those are the questions I’m trying to answer with Denis.”
The five-fight bill includes the outstanding Thabo
Sonjica, who defends his IBO junior-featherweight belt against Roli Gasca, and
also popular Kevin Lerena. The big-hitting cruiserweight is eyeing win number
10 against southpaw Marcos Antonio Ahumada of Argentina.
SuperSport will cross to the live action on SS7/HD at 7.30pm.