The tournament format in boxing has proven to be a winner on both the local and international scene.
Abroad, there was the Super Six super middleweight tournament that turned Andre Ward and Carl Froch into stars. That was followed by the World Boxing Super Series that provided the platform for talents such as Oleksander Usyk, Callum Smith, Josh Taylor and Naoya Inoue to shine.
At home, the tournament format has given the careers of Thabiso Mchunu and Kevin Lerena a big leg up in the past. The success of the more recent 4@War junior middleweight tournament has done the same for the careers of Brandon Thysse and Roarke Knapp.
Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman plans to take the four-man junior middleweight tournament to the next level. “The tournament has been very successful. It has vaulted the career of the winner. What I want to do now, starting in December, is another tournament but we want to expand the format to include the whole of Africa, not just South Africa. We have approached a leading fighter in Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania – all of whom confirm they would definitely like to be in a tournament of this magnitude.”
Ghana especially has produced some major stars on the world scene such as Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey and has a fine fighting tradition.
Nigeria has produced some talent as well. Former WBC heavyweight champion, Samuel Peter, as well as heavyweight prospect, Efe Ajagba, also hails from Nigeria. Current unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, is the son of Nigerian parents and cruiserweight Olanrewaju Durodola recently put up a spirited challenge for the WBC world title against Ilunga Makabu.
There has also developed something of a rivalry between South Africa and Tanzania as of late. Many of their fighters have visited our shores, with some South African fighters making the trip to Dar-es-Salaam as well.
The plan is for the first leg of the tournament to take place in December, with the winners meeting in February. A purse of a million rand will be up for grabs in the final, split 60-40 in favor of the winner.
Let us hope that ink can meet paper and an All-African Super Four junior middleweight tournament becomes a reality!