Durban - Only a brave man would take the chance of pitting two explosive boxers in the same ring for his next block-buster double-header bill in Johannesburg in early June.
And that man is Rodney Berman, one of the most knowledgeable and astute boxing promoters not only in South Africa but in the whole of Africa.
On Saturday Berman announced the second Golden Gloves tournament of the year, pitting knockout “kids” Roarke Knapp against Brandon Thysse for the African Boxing Union (ABU) super-welterweight crown and a 12-round heavyweight bout between newly crowned South African and ABU champion, Joshua Pretorius, and Chris Thompson.
Thysse and Knapp are power punches of note and going by their records this 12-round encounter for the ABU super-welterweight crown held by Knapp will not go the distance.
And the Pretorius v Thompson fight could be drawn out through the 12 rounds like the one at Emperors Palace on March 26, when the Richards Bay heavy wrested the crown from Juan Roux over the distance.
“The match-up for the ABU super-welterweight title is an explosive one,” Berman announced at the presser. “I don’t think we could have got a better pair of super-welterweights to fight each other on this double-header bill. They fought once before and it proved to be a cracker-jack affair.
It ended in a TKO in favour of Thysse. Now it’s time for redemption.”
Thysse’s record is 17 fights, 14 wins, one draw and two losses one on a knockout and another on a split points defeat.
Knapp is just as impressive in his professional career he never had an amateur background. He has 11 knockouts in his 13 wins, a loss on a knockout and a draw in his 15 fights.
Meanwhile Pretorius makes his first defence against a fighter who beat him on points over four rounds in May 2017 at the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom.
Thompson has had 14 fights, 11 wins (7 Ko’s), two losses and a draw. It will be the first time that he will be fighting for a heavyweight title.
Berman staged a successful “heavyweight mania” at the Emperors Palace where he matched a former cruiserweight, South Africa’s Kevin Lerena, against Romanian Bogdan Dinu in a heavyweight contest and came out smiling. Lerena destroyed Dinu, a veteran in the heavyweight division, in four rounds, and is now the WBA Inter-Continental champion.
How does Berman manage to stage so many successful tournaments?
“It's a tough balancing act. Credit must go to my team who work at it all the time. Speaking to the boxers’ management teams, watching their training sessions and also going to the smaller tournaments around the country,” Berman adds.
“When we bring out international boxers we speak to our agents overseas and we get the low-down on the fighters before signing the contracts. We assess every aspect of the fighter’s ability record, style, and who he has fought over the years. That’s why I say it’s a tough balancing act to follow. A successful promoter must have a good match-maker and we have one in Jeff Ellis, who has been in the game a long time.”
Berman announced only the double-header yesterday and added that the undercard for June 11 was still being put together.