Big wins for Berman in Baku

Rodney Berman meets up with an old friend in Azerbaijan, former world champion Naseem Hamed.

Promoter Rodney Berman got his just reward for sitting front and centre at the WBC convention’s ratings meeting in Azerbaijan yesterday.

Chief among his big gains in Baku was an agreement to sanction mandatories for mimimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin against the winner of fifth-ranked Simpiwe Konkco and the number two, Byron Rojas of Nicaragua, who will engage in a final eliminator.

So too Hekkie Budler, who will be rated number five, against WBC International title-holder Jonathan Inguito Taconing in an eliminator for light-flyweight champion Ken Shiro. Budler wasn’t ranked because he challenged for the IBF title recently.

Moruti Mthalane, currently number eight, is shifting the right way (six) and cruiserweight Kevin Lerena will hang steady at five with only Dmitry Kudryashov, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, Krzystof Glowacki and Andrew Tabiti rated higher.

Kudryashov’s ranking is likely to tumble after being KO’d by Yunier Dorticos, so Lerena could be on the move before long.

Berman says he hopes to have the WBC sign off on the mandatories today.

“I’ve pleaded our case and have been very encouraged by the response,” Berman said. “Sometimes it’s a case of reminding the powers that be of the strength of South African boxing. We may be far away, but we have great talent that deserves to be recognised.”