Promoter Rodney Berman discusses the current state of affairs in the sport and his plans for Martin Murray in a Q and A on Golden Gloves this week.
In the past year or two you have made a fundamental shift from being a South African promotional company to an international one. Could you tell us a little more?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned by the new Combat Bill being tabled in parliament, but also the increasingly lax regulations around local boxing. Regulations are frequently flouted, purses aren’t paid, that sort of thing.
Despite what naysayers believe, boxing is thriving. Look at the hype around Pacman-Mayweather, plus the huge crowds in places like England, Germany and the US. There are new stars emerging, like “GGG”, Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford and many others. We want to be a part of this. Fortunately we have a great infrastructure and a solid partnership with SuperSport, whose production standards are as good as any TV company in the world.
We’ve moved into Monte Carlo and there will be other new markets too. This has allowed us to level the playing field.
You have made three high-profile signings in Martin Murray, Xolisani Ndongeni and Roman Zhailaouv. What is your plan with them?
Ndongeni is fantastic. I’ve watched him and there’s plenty to like. I’m hoping he can emulate someone like Dingaan Thobela. He really is that good.
Yes, I’m proud that Roman has become a Golden Gloves fighter. He certainly looks the part, but I reckon he must fight at junior-welterweight. We’re also looking at three youngsters from overseas, all highly-pedigreed amateurs, potentially signing shortly.
With Martin, we recommended he take a break after the fight with “GGG”. But now he’s champing at the bit to fight again, which is encouraging. We’re looking at a July date, either in England or possibly in South Africa.
We are also trying to include him in the Premier Boxing Champions set-up. I’m hoping we can secure him a temporary visa for America. There’s also Monte Carlo at the end of the year.