Promoter Rodney Berman isn’t in the habit of sticking his neck out, but this week he predicted that DeeJay Kriel would follow in the footsteps of Hekkie Budler.
It was a bold claim, but Berman says that from what he’s seen, Kriel has the hallmarks of a future champion. Better still, he shares a gym with the former two-time world champion and is happy to be the youngster in the teacher-pupil dynamic at the HotBox gym.
Kriel also regularly works out with Simphiwe Khonco, who recently captured the IBO championship. There’s probably not a better place for Kriel to sharpen his game.
“I have great expectations of DeeJay. For a tiny guy he’s super-efficient and his engine just doesn’t know when to stop. He’s probably nearing the end of his early development as a pro and we’ll soon push him to the next level,” said Berman.
On the 24th he will continue his education when he fights for the eighth successive time at Emperors Palace, where he has become a fans’ favourite.
Berman spoke last week about Thulani Mbenge’s prospects and this week he was equally supportive of Joshua Studdard and Lucky Mongebane. Both recently suffered their first pro defeats, but Studdard’s came in a division he was clearly ill-suited to and Mongebane lost a razor-thin decision.
“Josh has hopefully found his weight, namely bantamweight,” said Berman. “I believe he’ll really show his mettle in this division.”
Mongebane is the darling of the impressive Golden Gloves stable, being the first fighter to emerge from their long association with Dikebu in Hammanskraal. “He has been a revelation and can really fight. We’ll do whatever it takes to get him to the next level,” said Berman.