Trainers slam Rodney Berman's 'mismatch'

Ricardo Malajika, left, pummels Nkululeko Mnisi.
Ricardo Malajika, left, pummels Nkululeko Mnisi.
Image: Nick Lourens

It is impossible for boxing matchmakers to please everyone when it comes to putting together boxing bouts because people have different views about the term "quality" when it comes to opponents.

The truth is that matchmakers work for promoters and not fans. They serve promoters' interests and have no say in the actual match-making of boxing bouts. The threshold question a matchmaker asks when filling out a boxing card is, "what do I want to accomplish with these fights?"

He might be trying to develop one of his promoter's fighters into a world-class boxer. That means finding an opponent who will be a good learning experience, go some rounds and test the fighter to determine where his skill level is.

Promoter Rodney Berman has matched newcomer Ricardo Malajika - with six fights and no losses - against a relatively experienced Filipino Jonas Sultan who has 16 wins in 21 fights. Berman wants the two to fight for the IBF Intercontinental junior bantamweight belt at Emperors Palace on March 21.

Malajika, a 21-year-old former top amateur, has boxed only 23 rounds in the pro ranks, while 28-year-old Sultan has boxed 142 rounds.

Sowetan spoke to successful trainers Colin Nathan and Damian Durandt about this bout, and they both felt it is a gamble not worth taking now because Malajika is still wet behind his ears.

Nathan said: "Malajika is an athletic young kid but his fundamentals need to be worked on ... Irrespective of the result in March [21] I don't see why Malajika has to be fast-tracked so quickly. "We saw Malajika battle against Mnqobi Mkhize who was strong and very aggressive but technically very limited. Malajika is not ready for guys like IBF champ Jerwin Ancanjas."

Durandt said: "I think this is a reckless move to put Malajika against Sultan.

"Is Malajika at the top level? No, I don't think so. Could he be at that stage? Maybe. If he wins I will be extremely impressed."

Durandt's boxer Brandon Thysse and Boyd Allen from Peter Smith's gym will meet in the final of the middleweight series in the main bout on March 1.

The WBA Pan African belt will be at stake.

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