Berman rolling with the punches following double disappointment

Golden Gloves 20/10/2015

Every time promoter Rodney Berman’s phone rings, he gets a chill. Over the weekend, two calls served to throw his plans into disarray.

First came the news that Kevin Lerena had broken his hand, nixing his December rematch with Johnny Muller.

Not long after, Berman took a call from Juergen Braehmer’s representatives who confirmed that the WBA light-heavyweight champion had injured his hand. His fight with Tommy Oosthuizen in a fortnight had to be scrapped.

Angry bears have been known to be less furious than Berman, who had to reach out to partners all over the world to replace the Oosthuizen fight.

Happily, old friend Art Pelullo of Banner Promotions came to the party with a first-class replacement in Ruslan Provodnikov, an all-action fighter who is never less than thrilling. He will top the November 7 card in Monte Carlo.

Although Berman has had to take these setbacks on the chin, he concedes that they may have an upside. He aims to re-schedule the two fights for the first quarter of 2016, with Oosthuizen-Braehmer taking place offshore.


For a big local show, he hopes to have “Super” status accorded to Hekkie Budler with Simphiwe Khonco challenging for the WBA Regular belt on the undercard. How this pans out will depend on the visit to the WBA convention in Peru by both Berman and Andile Sidinile, promoter of Khonco, in December.

Berman said he would also try to secure the Lerena-Muller rematch for the same time.

“These things are sent to test you, but it’s the nature of boxing,” he admitted. “Bad luck visits occasionally, but a double blow like this one is tough to take.”