Golden Gloves goes Global
African Ring: How did the concept of staging a major promotion in Monte Carlo evolve?
Rodney Berman: I had discussions with Monte-Carlo based SBM, the proprietor of the Casino rights in Monte-Carlo and interests in the hotel industry there, amongst others.
Having been approached by them last November, I flew there with a proposal to establish Monaco as a major boxing venue in Europe. Four visits and many discussions later, agreement was reached and now SBM's backing has leveled the playing field for us to compete in Europe at the highest level.
African Ring: In what other offshore countries have you promoted?
Rodney Berman: GG have staged promotions in Italy, United Kingdom, Australia and the USA in conjunction with Cedric Kushner.
African Ring: Does this indicate your intention of taking your promotions offshore in future?
Rodney Berman: Yes. GG will increase its activity in Europe, our aim being to make it a major player out of Monte-Carlo
African Ring: What was the total capex (including travel, accommodation and purses for boxers and officials, ground costs, sanction fees, etc?)
Rodney Berman: This is confidential. Suffice to say that the playing fields with leading European promoters have been leveled.
African Ring: Were you in partnership or was this a solely Golden Gloves promotion?
Rodney Berman: GG was the sole promoter of the event.
African Ring: Who were your sponsors?
Rodney Berman: SBM were our only backers.
African Ring: Describe some of the logistical challenges.
Rodney Berman: We approached this venture working off a very limited European knowledge basis, employing top European personnel. However, we have now established connections with the media, trainers, managers etc. our first venture being a "teething exercise". The SBM team, headed by Pauline Loeb, must be credited with much of the work in Monte-Carlo, but GG is itself blessed with a fantastic team and the work force from South Africa was fifteen strong, each and every one being an expert in their field and doing an outstanding job.
African Ring: Was the venue part of the casino?
Rodney Berman: No, the venue was the magnificent Salle des Etoilles.
African Ring: What was the capacity of the Sal des Etoilles?
Rodney Berman: 1500, and it was sold out on the night, with people still looking for tickets.
African Ring: How did you acquire the ring?
Rodney Berman: We have a long term relationship with one Mike Goodall of the United Kingdom, an expert in this field.
African Ring: The prince and princess were in attendance - did you receive any positive feedback after the show?
Rodney Berman: Everyone really enjoyed the night. There was a BUZZ in Monaco for days leading up to the fight, the casino being packed to capacity on the night.
Bearing in mind that this was the first of a long term agreement with SBM, our three main objectives were achieved, namely bringing top class Boxing to Monte-Carlo, marketing Monaco globally and encouraging tourism.
African Ring: Who did your matchmaking? And did you have complete say in the matches?
Rodney Berman: The matchmaking was predominantly done by Philipp Fondu in France and Ron Rizzo in the United States, with GG making the final decision.
African Ring: Ilungu Makabu made a great impression with his win. Will he feature in your next Monte-Carlo promotion?
Rodney Berman: Makabu is a potential Superstar in the Cruiserweight Division. He fights for the Vacant WBC Cruiserweight Silver Belt on 13 July. His opponent is Dmytro Kucher of the Ukraine, who is rated No 3 by the WBC. Enough said!
African Ring: You are going back to Monte-Carlo for your second promotion on 13 July. What is the bill?
Rodney Berman: We have a star-studded four-fight bill, namely:
EBU Middleweight Title - 12 Rounds: Prince Arron (UK) vs Max Bursak (Ukraine)
WBC Cruiserweight Silver Belt - 12 Rounds: Dmytro Kucher (Ukraine) vs Ilunga Makabu (Congo)
Super 4 Final Catchweight - 10 Rounds: Denis Grachev (Russia) vs Edwin Rodriguez (Dominican Republic)
WBA Light Heavyweight World Title - 12 Rounds: Dimitri Sartison (Germany) vs Stanyslav Kashtanov (Ukraine)
African Ring: To which countries was this tournament televised?
Rodney Berman: On a live and delayed basis throughout the whole of Europe, in the United States on pay-per-view, Argentina, Japan and of course live throughout Africa.