Berman ecstatic as boxing fans are allowed back into venues

Ace promoter to test waters with Dec 14 tourney

Promoter Rodney Berman.
Promoter Rodney Berman.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Rodney Berman reacted like a kid in a candy store when informed yesterday that finally doors have been officially opened for sport fanatics.

Government amended regulations on Monday to allow attendance at match venues of up to 2,000 fans outdoor and 750 fans indoor.

Berman, the 77-year-old who remains SA’s all-time top boxing promoter, said the move by minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to amend level 1 and allow limited number of fans to sporting events is wonderful news. 

“Wow! I was actually not aware until you called me; this is wonderful news,” reacted the pugilistic maestro who has been promoting boxing for 44 years.

“This will make a difference and also motivate boxers and their trainers. It has been very difficult fighting behind closed doors.”

Fans had been disallowed since March 2020. Tournaments have been taking place behind closed doors. Road shows around the country to encourage citizens to vaccinates have seen numbers of positive infections drop, and it is through a decrease in positive cases that the minister gazetted the amendment of regulation 69 of the Disaster management Act alert level 1.

The announcement yesterday was confirmed by the sport ministry in a statement: “As part of phase one towards fully reopening sporting activities, spectators at the venue of sports events are permitted. But limited to 750 persons or less for indoor venues and 2,000 or less for outdoor venues.

“As we go out to sporting events to support teams, let us do so recognising that Covid-19 is still with us. Let us unite in observing Covid-19 protocols by wearing masks, washing hands and adhere to social distancing measures.”

Meanwhile, Berman has a tournament scheduled for December 14 at Emperors Palace. He said the winner between Brandon Thysse and Roarke Knapp will pocket 60% of the R600,000 purse money with the loser settling for 40%. 

Ricardo Malajika, who was outpointed by Sabelo Ngebinyana over eight rounds in March, will fight for the IBO All Africa junior bantamweight belt. Recently crowned SA junior middleweight champ Shervontaigh Koopman and Phikelelani Khumalo will also be in action, said Berman.

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