Eleanor Roosevelt once uttered the following words. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticised anyway”. “You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”.
Berman has come in for criticism for matching local Super Flyweight sensation Ricardo Malajika against Filipino Jonas Sultan on 21st of March 2020.
Malajika has had a mere 6 fights in the paid ranks, winning 5 of these fights on stoppages and is touted as a future Superstar.
There are no professional boxers in South Africa who can claim to have a better amateur record than Malajika. Malajika being probably the best amateur fighter South Africa has produced in the last 30 odd years. Being the SANABO Fighter of the Year 6 times is not an achievement that will be easy to beat, and it says a lot about his ability and potential.
Give a boxer a fight he is expected to win and stand accused of wrapping him in cotton wool. Give him a fight where he is expected to step things up a level, and the same critics will accuse you of throwing him to the wolves . Berman feels that it is a worthwhile calculated risk putting Malajika in against Sultan, as should he suffer a loss, it would only be a hiccup, and a great learning curve.
Sultan has to date had 21 fights, with 16 wins and 5 losses. He has never been stopped. His one loss in 2018 was against Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF World Title, his most recent being against local fighter Athenkosi Dumezweni for the vacant WBC Silver Title. In his last fight was against Salatiel Amit in August of last year, he won by TKO.
Berman firmly believes that Malajika can pull this one off.
A win against a world ranked opponent like Sultan will propel Ricardo onto the world stage”. One of changes to the Malajika camp sees former World Champion Brian Mitchell taking over the management reins. In addition Mitchell will keep a close eye on Ricardo’s training in the gym under the watchful eye of Anton Gilmore.
“Having someone like Brian involved will add a new dimension to Ricardo’s preparation for this fight” says Berman. “His vast experience as a champion fighter, trainer and manager can only help Ricardo achieve his dreams”.
While many people were still celebrating the New Year, Mitchell gave Malajika a diary in which he has to record his training regimen. In consultation with Gimore, Mitchell does the necessary adjustments to ensure that Malajika will be properly prepared for the biggest fight of his life.
Berman has no doubt in his mind, that come the 21st of March 2020, Ricardo Malajiko will be crowned the new IBF Intercontinental Champion.