Berman reaches ring milestone

2017-09-10 08:05

BSA compliments Golden Gloves veteran promoter on 40 years of producing champs.

Boxing South Africa (BSA) has complimented veteran Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman for an illustrious 40-year milestone as a producer of champions.

The boxing governing body has undertaken to continue to rally behind the fight impresario, who still showcases super-fights after four glorious decades.

The consortium – undoubtedly the most successful in Mzansi – has been involved in organising top-class bouts since 1977. It celebrated its four-decade anniversary last month.

To date, Berman’s company has staged international tournaments that have produced more than 60 world champions, the majority of whom were South Africans. Amazingly, the first world champion was produced in March 1990.

BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka said: “Berman has definitely put South Africa on the global map by producing so many champs. He is definitely doing something good even after 40 years.

“No amount of words can appropriately describe the passion, commitment, excellence, innovation, discipline and pure patriotism it takes to serve a sport for so long and so well.”

In honour of his immense contribution to boxing, Berman was conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 SA Boxing Awards in January.

“BSA will continue to support him in the best way possible in future. We thank him for his love of boxing and look forward to yet another decade of love – and another one and another one,” said Lejaka.

Berman’s first venture into professional boxing was on August 29 1977, when Charlie Weir knocked out Bushy Bester in the first round of a middleweight four-rounder at Wembley Ice Rink in Johannesburg.

His list of world champions includes Welcome “Hawk” Ncita, Brian “Mean Machine” Mitchell, Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu and Corrie Sanders.

The coup that still lingers in the minds of many fans was the world heavyweight title contest featuring American Hasim Rahman and Englishman Lennox Lewis in 2001.

Dubbed “Thunder in Africa”, the bout – copromoted with American Cedric Kushner – saw Rahman produce one of the biggest upsets by knocking out Lewis in the fifth round to be crowned the new world title holder.

Berman said one of his highlights was when Ncita beat Fabrice Benichou for the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight crown in 1990.

“We had our first world champion after 12 years! Welcome was a real credit to the game,” Berman was quoted as saying on Golden Gloves’ website.

“And then there was Lennox Lewis versus Hasim Rahman. The enormity dawned on me when Madiba [Nelson Mandela] called from Lesotho to say how proud he was. He was pleased the boxing had taken the focus off the bad news on the front pages.”

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April 22 2018