Welterweight Super Four extravaganza plan
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