As the walls close in on South African sport, thanks to a damaging exchange rate and burgeoning cost-of-living prices, Golden Gloves has opened a satellite office in New York.
As much a contingency measure as an expansion, the move is a calculated effort to ensure the Golden Gloves brand remains vibrant and relevant.
Explaining the move, promoter Rodney Berman said: “I’m not naïve enough to think that we can take on Golden Boy and others, but with the talent we have at our disposal, opportunities will open up in the US. Having an office there, staffed by insiders and experts – with their contacts – will allow us to look after the interests of Golden Gloves fighters.”
Berman will thus have feet on the ground; people pushing the interests of his stable, not least the likes of welterweight hotshot Thulani Mbenge, who is already earmarked for an American debut in March. Others, like Kevin Lerena and Tommy Oosthuizen, might also benefit.
Asked if his interest might extend to promoting in the US, Berman said it was a possibility in the long-term. But the immediate aim, he insisted, was to have a presence in the biggest market in world boxing.
“The truth is you must be in the mainstream, whether it’s London or New York.”