Top promoters share their success secrets

2011-11-26 20:44

Branco Milenkovic and Rodney Berman are only two of the 41 registered promoters in the country who seem to be success stories.

They have a monopoly over world-title fights while doom and gloom is the order of the day for other promoters.

Over the years hair-raising fights staged by Golden Gloves Promotions’ Berman include Lennox Lewis vs Hassim Rahman (heavyweight), Dingaan Thobela vs Glenn Catley (super middleweight), and Brian Mitchell vs Tony Lopez (junior lightweight).

Super fights showcased by Milenkovic of Branco Sport Productions engaged Marco Antonio Barrera vs Mzonke Fana (junior lightweight), and Simphiwe Vetyeka vs Hozumi Hasegawa (bantamweight).

But why are they the only ones making a mark?

“Hard work, hard work, hard work,” says Serbian-born Milenkovic, who has been in boxing for 15 years.

“You have to promote as if your life depends on it – giving your all.”

Berman was unavailable for comment, but Brian Mitchell – who has known him for almost 30 years – said Berman had seen it all in boxing since engaging in the game 33 years ago.

“He has benefited a lot from associating with and promoting at casinos.” Mitchell said Berman, a lawyer by profession, uses his legal acumen to benefit boxing.

But Pat Molefe of Rainbow Promotions dismissed Berman and Milenkovic’s success.

“If all promoters were white, no one would be struggling because all would be inundated with offers from sponsors,” said Molefe.

His sentiments were echoed by Eyethu Promotions’ Mzi Mnguni. Asked how his competition attracted sponsors, Mnguni replied: “You are asking the wrong person. I’ll tell you the day I attract them.”

Berman has turned many crises into opportunities.

His International Boxing Federation (IBF) world bantamweight title show between SA’s Mbulelo Botile and Philippines’s Harold Mestre was disastrous.

Fewer than 1 000 spectators turned up for the fight, which took place in Soweto and was expected to be a sell-out.

At the time, Botile was regarded as the best bantamweight fighter in the world.

But Berman eventually became South Africa’s biggest promoter, until Milenkovic arrived on the scene.

Asked about his failures, all Milenkovic could say was that they were so countless he could not name them.

“The road to success is paved with failure, failure, failure, success,” he said.

“What I’ve learned is that the more successful you become, the more enemies you make in this game as almost everyone tries to bring you down.”
Milenkovic’s goal is to steer IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane towards unifying the titles.
Mitchell said Berman’s ultimate goal was to produce an undisputed world heavyweight champion.

“We need to convert a rugby player into a boxer, because those guys are supremely physically fit,” Mitchell said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.