Branco Sports Productions (BSP) promotional company is set to chalk up the magical 100-up milestone when their 2006 programme gets underway. In the 10 years since it's inception, BSP has staged 99 local professional shows and 2005 undoubtedly proved to be their best year to date. Despite the unforeseeable hiccups and headaches associated with promoting the sport of boxing, co-promoters Branco Milenkovic and Baby
Jake Matlala are aiming even higher in 2006.
The past 12 months were littered with memorable highlights,
but the biggest accomplishment by BSP in 2005 actually took place outside the ring without a single punch being thrown. Ring legend Baby Jake Matlala joined BSP at the beginning of 2005 as a co-director in what was the first, and up to now the only, Black Economic Empowerment deal concluded in the boxing industry.
Less than two months later, BSP accomplished a feat that every sceptic and doubting Thomas in the sport thought was impossible -- they clinched Mzonke Fana a shot at the legendary Marco Antonio Barerra's super featherweight world title in El Paso, Texas. "That set the tone for what in my opinion, has been our best year ever," said Branco. "Although our man lost, that event put South Africa back on the world boxing map and proved that our promoters still have the clout to clinch major fights for their top charges," he added.
Reflecting on his first year in the BSP set-up, former four-time world champion Matlala said it has been his most exciting since entering the sport. "I am extremely proud of our achievements in 2005 and it's no surprise that our phone lines are constantly jammed with boxers and trainers wanting to fight under our promotional banner," said Matlala.
But to assume it's all plain sailing is naive. " Branco and myself have had to dig deep into our pockets at times and incurred sizeable financial losses, like for our Triple Header Extravaganza at Graceland in September " Matlala pointed out.
BSP hopes to do extremely well at the annual BSA Awards Dinner at Emperor's Palace later this month. BSP-promoted fights feature in three of the five nominated "Fights of the Year" -- Joe Makaringe vs Phillip Kotey; Hawk Makepula vs Rolly Lunas and Simon Ramoni vs Khulile Makeba.
Two of BSP's current charges, Simon Ramoni and Muvhuso Nedzanani, have been nominated for "Boxer of the Year", while hot unbeaten middleweight prospect Kgotso Motau is in line for "Prospect of the Year" honours