If the fight card on September 1 has already sorted itself out – “it’s incredible, we’re virtually sold out,” says Rodney Berman – the year-ender at Emperors Palace is stacking up nicely.
Golden Gloves has secured December 8, which sees Rowan Campbell rewarded for his good form on Friday. The new SA super-middleweight champion will challenge unbeaten Petro Ivanov of Ukraine for the IBO’s Youth title.
“He boxed well for a youngster, but he’s matched tougher this time,” said Berman. “Rowan has a lot of promise, so I look forward to stretching him.”
The same bill will see Thulani Mbenge defend his IBO welterweight belt for the first time.
Berman also plans to feature the winner of next month’s Tommy Oosthuizen-Thabiso Mchunu showdown so there’s extra incentive for both fighters to step up on September 1.
Having just made his pro bow, Keaton Gomes will also be kept busy. He blew away Moses Bila on Friday night and will fight again on September 1 and December 8.
Although Gomes fought as a cruiserweight, Berman expects he will develop into a heavyweight and help fill a void in SA boxing. “What I liked was his looseness and no apparent nerves. He sensed weakness and he exploited it. This is what you need from a heavyweight.”
Meanwhile, Jay Sonjica blew away another journeyman opponent to get his fifth successive win, leading Berman to speculate that he mixes in far better company. “He must take a massive step up. It’s time.”
Another possible fight for December 8 is Lusanda Komanisi against Xolisani Ndongeni. Komanisi must do the business against Michael Mokoena next month, but assuming he does, a clash against Ndongeni has much to recommend – if Ndongeni is up to the challenge.
Wade Groth, who captured the interim SA middleweight championship, could feature in October if Berman succeeds in securing a date with SuperSport.
He admits that it’s a problem keeping his stable busy, not least because there aren’t sufficient dates and the currency is invariably in freefall. But he hopes to make a plan with Groth.
“He’s coming along nicely for a fighter with just a could of outings. His finishing was very good and he was ultra-competitive against a guy [Wynand Mulder] who came to fight. This is what we try to do: make good fights. It’s the essence of being a promoter, and I’m determined to carry on doing so.”