Rodney Berman will return to South Africa next week with glad tidings for a number of his boxers.
Speaking from Miami, where he is attending the World Boxing Council convention, Berman said that his petitioning to the ratings committee had largely been successful.
In probably the most significant development, Berman was assured that fast-rising cruiserweight Kevin Lerena would be installed at number 10 in the WBC ratings on account of his career-best win over Micki Nielsen in October.
The Golden Gloves CEO also made a case for light-heavyweight Ryno Liebenberg and although there were concessions that he had been hard done by in his last two fights – against Erik Skoglund and Enrico Koelling – little could be done in light of the fact that the losses, however controversial, have been confirmed. However, the committee promised to reassess its decision after Liebenberg fights the rematch with Koelling in February, making success even more critical.
Meanwhile, Hekkie Budler will soon move to number five in the light-flyweights. A good showing in February could elevate him even higher and leads to the intriguing possibility of him possibly becoming the first SA fighter to win titles in three organisations. He is a former IBO and WBA title-holder.
Energised Simpiwe Konkco will move into the top 10 – but only once his written commitment to the WBC’s drug-free programme is confirmed.
After some thought, Berman didn’t contest Xolisani Ndongeni’s number 13 ranking, correctly reasoning that a higher rating might put undue pressure on a talented fighter who still has time to become a more complete athlete.
“These are exciting times for our boxers,” said Berman. “The WBC knows all about the tradition of top fighters coming out of South Africa and they want to be a part of this continuing. The boxers will receive their due recognition, making this trip very worthwhile.”
Many of the great and the good of world boxing are in attendance, including Gennady Golovkin, Floyd Maywether jnr, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Winky Wright, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Deontay Wilder and Vitali Klitschko.