SA boxing in great shape, Berman says

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

South African boxing is heading for an all-time high, says top promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP).

"I'm tired of listening to sad-sacks and cynics harping back to the old days in boxing, because the era they inevitably trumpet as the golden age of the sport was hardly ever as exciting as it is now," he said yesterday.

"Make no mistake, there were exceptional fighters during the 1970s, but that hardly detracts from the superb athletes we have in our midst today.

"If one can stay young enough to remember what is was really like when they were young, it becomes apparent that boxing, along with other sports, is constantly improving".

South Africa has warriors such as Osborne Machimana (SA heavyweight champ), Daniel Bruwer (SA light heavyweight champ), Bongani Mwelase (SA welterweight champ) as well as an abundance of increasing young stars like Hekkie Budler, Grant Fourie and Warren Joubert, to mention but a few.

"I'll make a prediction now with no fear of reproach - South African boxing is entering the most dynamic and exciting era in the 119-year-old history of the sport!" Berman said.

Berman's boxing company, which is the biggest, followed by the Branco Sports Production of Branco Milenkovic, has been involved in the sport since the mid-70s and has promoted over 200 world championship events and produced almost 70 world champions.

He said current top name fighters like Cassius Baloyi (IBF champ), Silence Mabuza and Isaac Hlatshwayo (both IBO champions), Zolani Marali (WBF champ), Thomas Mashaba and Takalani Ndlovu (both former IBO champions) are among the finest fighters he has promoted.

Berman's stable once boasted dogs of war such as Corrie Sanders, Thulani Malinga, Jacob Matlala and Dingaan Thobela.