Never one to stand still, Rodney Berman is looking at a clutch of young fighters to take Golden Gloves into 2017 and beyond.
Having long spoken up the gifts of Thulani Mbenge, Berman’s outlook was confirmed at last week’s Emperors Palace tournament where the welterweight shone brightest against Eric Kapia Mukadi.
“He’s the real deal,” said the Golden Gloves impresario, who has a keen eye for talent. “The way he broke Mukadi down demonstrated a fighter with great instincts and ability. We’re going to really push him next year.”
Berman threw five other young fighters into the mix, namely Troy De Paiva (middleweight), Nathan Hammond (junior-middleweight), Rowan Campbell (light-heavyweight), Lucky Monyebane (junior-lightweight) and Jabulani Makhense (junior-welterweight).
De Paiva, who is managed by Brian Mitchell and trained by Anton Gilmore, was a star of the Southern Giant event and is rated by Gilmore as a “sensational talent”. Mitchell also rates him, which is some endorsement coming from the Hall of Famer.
Hammond ground out a draw last week and looks like a good fighter on the rise. He, too, will be brought along at a fast pace, as will Campbell, who showed good touches in his first-round stoppage of Gabriel Mngadi. He’s likely to drop down a division, though, where he could be an electrifying talent.
And then there’s Monyebane, the southpaw who continues his education under Harold Volbrecht. Berman is sold on his skills and will continue to develop him on one of the hottest divisions in the country.
The other fighter who caught the eye was Makhense, from the stable of Sebastiaan Rothmann. He handled business with ruthless efficiency last week and is the sort of boxer who will command a following.
“Boxing’s rate of attrition can be cruel, so they may not all make it, but I expect they will all produce a couple of exciting nights,” predicted Berman. “People bemoan a lack of talent, but it’s there if you know where to look. I’m very confident about the future given that these are tomorrow’s big stars. Mbenge is on the verge of big things – he can become a South African superstar – and the others all possess the talent to kick on. Whatever happens, the fans will be seeing much more of them in 2017.”