In a major coup for local boxing, Rodney Berman has secured WBA Pan-African title status for two end-of-year bouts in South Africa.
The Paul Kamanga-Roman Zhailauov welterweight fight and the cruiserweight rematch between Kevin Lerena and Johnny Muller will both enjoy this honour when they take place at Emperors Palace on December 1.
It won’t end there because a few weeks later Berman will attend the WBA convention where he will petition for favourable rankings for the two winners.
Kamanga is fresh off a one-sided win against local rival Jason Bedeman while Zhailauov suffered his first pro defeat with a narrow points defeat against Thompson Mokwana.
After their first fight, which was a great scrap, Lerena captured the SA championship with a beatdown of Deon Coetzee, while Muller succumbed at the fists of Oleksandr Usyk.
Both fights have a compelling dynamic. In the first instance, Kamanga and Zhailauov are both young, representing the fresh new wave.
In the other, Lerena must atone for his first effort, which saw him suffer his first loss, while Muller needs to reassert himself after a damaging loss overseas.
“The title belts add a bit of needle,” said Berman. “They’re both too close to call, suffice to say that the winners will get elevated by the WBA, I’ll make sure of that.”