Promoter Rodney Berman admits he was downcast about Tommy Oosthuizen losing his shot at the world title, but he’s been greatly encouraged by the response of fans to the inclusion of former champion Ruslan Provodnikov on the “Night of Champions” tournament card in Monte Carlo next weekend.
“From an international point of view, the Russian had far more impact. I’ve really been taken aback by his popularity,” said Berman ahead of his weekend departure.
He added that it had been challenging when Juergen Braehmer pulled out injured at late notice, but postponing the event was never an option.
“All the other titles were set and many good fighters had been in training. I felt very sorry for Tommy, but shifting the date would have been calamitous. You do what you can and luckily Provodnikov was available.
“I’m thrilled because Monte Carlo has a huge Russian presence and even neutrals love Provodnikov’s all-action style.”
Golden Gloves has assembled a veritable United Nations of boxers with nine countries represented across the five fights. There are some hidden gems on the card, like Russia’s David Avanesyan, who fights Charlie Navarro for the Interim WBA welterweight belt. Respected boxing site BoxRec has given the bout a four-star rating, which reflects the competitive nature of the fight.
Another, cruiserweight Youri Kalenga, has fought in Monte Carlo before and is fresh off a world championship shot. A great body-puncher, he will have his hands full with Roberto Bolonti.
“I’m thrilled to be heading back to Monte Carlo. It has become a major destination on the boxing map,” said Berman. ”Already we are looking to 2016. I’m in tentative talks with Tom Loeffler . . . if the situation allows, I would love to bring Gennady Golovkin back to Monte Carlo. They have an affinity for him and he has an affinity for them. He’s become a superstar and I know we’d all love to have him back.”