Rodney Berman is working out a deal with top US promoter Lou Di Bella to jointly promote Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena and Thulani Mbenge.
America is the frontier all promoters want to break into and Berman is determined that Lerena and Mbenge, two of the hottest stars in his stable, get the opportunity. He’s particularly excited by the fluid nature of the cruiserweight division, the Super Series conveniently dispatching top contenders and creating opportunities for others.
“Kevin already has the IBO title; the plan is to take him along strategically,” said Berman from Azerbaijan, where he is attending the WBC convention.
Part of this is determined by Lerena’s overly-cautious style, something Berman wants him to break out of. He understands why Lerena held back against Youri Kalenga recently, not least when he appeared to have the boxer hurt, but encourages explosiveness because that’s what the public buys into.
This, says Berman, is what will help Lerena crack the lucrative US market, a market that won’t embrace a safety-first style.
The promoter is also bullish about cruiserweight Thabiso Mchunu, who fights fellow southpaw Constantin Bejenaru in the US this month. Berman has embarked on a joint venture with US promoter Joe De Guardia with the aim of resurrecting Mchunu’s career. With the WBC Silver belt now vacant in the wake of Dmitry Kudryashov’s KO defeat last weekend, opportunities abound.
“Nothing is off the table with these guys. I’ve had encouraging talks with the WBC, but ultimately it depends on the boxers themselves. If they produce the goods Golden Gloves will move them along,” said Berman before rushing off to yet another meeting with one of the sport’s power brokers.