Wel­ter­weight Su­per Four ex­trav­a­ganza plan

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

PRO­MOTER Rod­ney Berman has been mulling over an in­trigu­ing pos­si­bil­ity for later in the year – a wel­ter­weight Su­per Four.

“Just throw­ing some ideas around,” he con­firmed on Wed­nes­day, later adding that he had al­ready reached out to some of the pro­posed fight­ers.

“I am con­sid­er­ing Chris van Heer­den, Charles Manyuchi (WBC’s No 3) and per­haps Thu­lane Mbenge or Paul Ka­manga. I was also look­ing at Chris Al­gieri, who would be a great draw­card for an event of this na­ture.”

At first blush, the pro­posal looks ex­cel­lent with each of the box­ers bring­ing solid cre­den­tials to the action. Manyuchi (20-2-1) may be the least known of the lot, but he’s got a bur­geon­ing rep­u­ta­tion.

Last year, the Zim­bab­wean dom­i­nated un­beaten Dmitry Mikhaylenko in Rus­sia to win the WBC sil­ver belt, no small achieve­ment given how dif­fi­cult it is to get a re­sult there.

Van Heer­den (25-2-1) is a griz­zled pro who will give any young­ster a hard time, while Mbenge (8-0) is the X-fac­tor in the mix. He’s a ter­rific prospect who would jump at the chance, al­though it may come a year too soon for him.

Whether Berman will in­deed work again with Ka­manga (19-1) is an ope­nended ques­tion af­ter the DRC fighter hot-footed it off to Rus­sia – where he lost – last year, and has since turned up in the UK.

Al­gieri (21-3), the for­mer world cham­pion, may be a long shot, but Berman reached out to his pro­moter, Joe DeGuardia, none­the­less.

It may just ap­peal to the pop­u­lar New Yorker, who hasn’t fought since los­ing to ris­ing star Er­rol Spence last April.

Pro­vi­sion­ally, the plan is an elim­i­na­tion round on May 20 at Em­per­ors Palace, each of the par­tic­i­pants re­ceiv­ing R250000.

The two vic­tors of the May tour­na­ment will then go for­ward to fight each on Au­gust 12 for a 60/40 split of R1 mil­lion in favour of the win­ner.

Mean­while, Berman’s strong part­ner­ship with Art Pelullo of Ban­ner Pro­mo­tions looks like it’s pay­ing off again.

Pelullo’s light­weight fighter, Petr Petrov, the WBA No1, has de­cided to go the WBO route in­stead and will chal­lenge Terry Flana­gan for that cham­pi­onship in April. As a con­se­quence, the path to the WBA ti­tle is cleared for Xolisani ‘Nomeva’ Ndon­geni – the WBA No 3 con­tender.

WBA cham­pion Jorge Linares is fight­ing No 4 Ant Crolla in a re­match in March – con­di­tional, says Berman, on con­firm­ing the win­ner will meet Nomeva in their next fight.

The un­beaten South African is thus on the cusp of chal­leng­ing for a ma­jor belt.

It’s a big step-up for the 26-year-old, but in es­tab­lish­ing a 22-0 record he has never re­motely looked like los­ing. “The light­weight di­vi­sion is very vi­brant and we’re de­ter­mined to be in the thick of it,” said Berman – ANA

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