Monte Carlo – Having just staged a seventh successful tournament in three years in Monte Carlo, promoter Rodney Berman was beaming on Sunday morning.
“These things are never easy to put together, but it’s always worth it in the end,” he said.
Indeed, the five fights on the “Night of Champions” tournament card were variable in quality, but they were all competitive and pleasing to the eye. Given what the principals in Monaco are after, the tournament delivered.
Indeed, negotiations are far advanced for Golden Gloves to host another two events in the principality in 2016, continuing a tradition that has frequently given rise to fantastic match-ups.
Among the many conversations Berman had this week was with Art Pelullo, his friend and fellow promoter who looks after Ruslan Provodnikov. With Pelullo confident of securing the Russian a world title fight in the coming months, Berman says it is possible it could take place in Monte Carlo.
The Monte Carlo shows are international by nature, reflecting Golden Gloves’ broad ambitions, and while South African boxers won’t necessarily be included, nor will they be excluded. Berman explained that he would always seek out opportunities for SA boxers, but the match-ups had to make sense to an international audience.
Tommy Oosthuizen was meant to head the card against Juergen Braehmer, but injury to the German scuppered the bout. Provodnikov was contacted at late notice and proved a more than adequate replacement, bringing his unique brand of fire and fury to this coastal paradise.
Said Berman: “We’re still doing the de-briefing, but the sense I got of it was overall satisfaction. Monte Carlo needs to deliver and so do we. That’s always the challenge . . . to do it bigger and better. That never changes.”
Ruslan Provodnikov promised to put on a show and he didn’t disappoint as he overwhelmed unbeaten Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez in four rounds at the glitzy Salle Des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday night.
With HRH Prince Albert looking on, the former WBO junior-welterweight champion wasn’t unduly stretched as he hit his stride early and pounded away until the finish of their scheduled 10-round welterweight clash. The Russian was the aggressor and although his Mexican opponent had some success counter-punching, he didn’t have the strength to hold off Provodnikov.
Rodriguez was sent reeling in the fourth, taking an eight-count after a succession of hooks to the body. After Rodriguez was decked again soon after, referee Stan Christodoulou wisely called a halt. It was Provodnikov’s first win since his narrow April defeat to Lucas Matthysse.
“I must praise Rodriguez,” said the Russian later. “A lot of big names didn’t want to fight, but he did.”
Earlier, David Avaneseyan of Armenia scored a ninth-round TKO over Venezuela’s Charlie Navarro for the WBA Interim welterweight title.
Navarro was a game opponent, but the Armenian took over from the fifth round, switching between orthodox and southpaw in a bid to throw Navarro off track. The Venezuelan was deducted a point in the fifth round for a low blow, which foreshadowed his gameplan unravelling.
After being put over in the ninth round he was asked by Christodoulou whether he wanted to continue. With a shake of the head, it was waved over.
Countryman Yonfrez Parejo had no better luck as he dropped a split decision to Ricky Hatton protégé Zhanat Zhakayinov for the WBA Interin bantamweight title.
Scores were 115-113 and 116-113 to Zhakayinov and 116-112 to Parejo.
It was nip and tuck from beginning to end with the Kazakh’s crisper punching giving him the edge.
In the night’s most explosive finish, cruiserweight Youri Kalenga of the Democratic Republic of Congo produced a devastating left hook to knock Roberto Bolonti of Argentina out in the ninth round.
Despite being put down twice in the third round, the Argentine proved a resilient opponent who often made Kalenga miss and was typically awkward. Bolonti also lost a point in the seventh for using his head.
Kalenga tended to be wild at times, but there was nothing wrong with his finish as he caught a back-pedalling Bolonti flush, sending him down for the full count.
In a fight for the WBC Silver super-bantamweight title, Qui Xiao Jun of China was barely troubled as he won via 11th-round TKO over Amor Beladj Ali of France.
Jun sent Ali to the canvas four times in all before his southpaw opponent was mercifully
rescued in the 11th.