New York, NY / Monaco / Johannesburg - Africa's promotional giant Golden Gloves has partnered with the Monte-Carlo SBM Group to announce the "Monte-Carlo Million Dollar Super Four", a four-man boxing spectacular.
The elimination event features Edwin Rodriguez (22-0, 15 KOs), Zsolt Erdei (33-0, 18 KOs), Denis Grachev (12-1-1, 8 KOs) and Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (19-0, 13 KOs).
Co-headlining this mammoth triple-header on March 30, which will pit Rodriguez against Maderna and Zsolt versus Grachev in the opener, is one of the biggest stars in world boxing today.
Undefeated WBA middleweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (25-0, 22 KOs) fresh off his sensational seventh-round destruction of Gabriel Rosado at Madison Square Garden,will defend his title against dangerous Japanese contender Nobuhiro Ishida (24-8, 9 KOs). The Golovkin-Ishida bout will be promoted in association with K2 Promotions, while the Rodriguez-Maderna and Erdei-Grachev matchups will be promoted in association with DiBella Entertainment.
"I am excited about fighting in Monaco in my next fight," said Golovkin. "It is a great location and I always want to keep contact with my European fans. Ishida has proven he is a very dangerous opponent with his KO win over James Kirkland and I am up for the challenge."
Tom Loeffler managing director of K2 added, "Gennady wants to stay active this year and this fight will give him the opportunity to defend his world titles in one if the premiere cities in the world. GGG had two great KO performances in the US on HBO and now it is time for him to showcase his skills again in Europe. Gennady's recognition as the most feared middleweight has grown and he is truly the type of fighter that will fight anywhere in the world without hesitation."
The two Super Four winners will fight for a 60/40 share of one million dollars on July 13th in Monaco.
The European junior-middleweight title bout featuring champion Sergei Rabchenko (Russia) and Adriano Nicchi (Italy) also features on this March 30 historic card.
The Final of the Super Four on July 13 in Monaco will be the boxing arm of the Nelson Mandela 95th Birthday Celebrations which will also serve to raise public awareness and interaction with Mandela's initiative to encourage public funding for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, a project to build a state-of-the-art research and care facility for children throughout Africa.
The tournament will be held at the Chapiteau de Fontvieille and several parallel events will also take place at the elegant and historic Casino de Monte-Carlo during the week of the event.
"The opportunity of staging this mammoth event in Monaco is a great honour, and my deepest thanks and appreciation go to the Monte-Carlo SBM and its management team for their support and encouragement," said Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves.
He continued: "We look forward to two outstanding events and hosting many international celebrities and dignitaries."
Commenting on the event, Ndaba Mandela, one of Nelson Mandela's grandsons, said: "On behalf of my foundation, Africa Rising, it is a great honor to be a part this event. My grandfather was an avid boxing enthusiast and we felt it would only be fit to honor him with a world-class boxing event as part of the Celebration of his 95th birthday. We are very excited to be a part of the Monte-Carlo Million Dollar Super Four final to take place in Monaco in July and honored to have his Serene Highness Prince Albert II and the people of Monaco be a part of what will be an extraordinary celebration."
The Africa Rising Foundation is a non-profit organization that was established by the Mandela grandsons, Ndaba and Kweku, in 2009 as a platform to empower the youth of not only South Africa, but also young Africans across the continent. The Foundation is endorsed by Nelson Mandela and is committed to shaping the image of Africa by means of educational programmes, entrepreneurship development projects and by celebrating African culture.
While the upcoming tournament will be the first professional boxing event held in the country in seven years, Monaco does in fact have a long history with the sport. The first world championship bout staged in Monaco took place 101 years ago, back in 1912.
"Monte-Carlo SBM is delighted to join forces with Golden Gloves in organizing one of the major boxing events in the world this year," said Jean-Louis Masurel, Board Member of the company. He adds that "It will be a great honor to host such an event associated with the Nelson Mandela 95th birthday celebration"
The Casino de Monte-Carlo, which has always been involved in sports and entertainment, will play a key role in this project and will make sure that these exciting Super Four tournament is optimized in order to meet the expectations of the fans among their casino clients.
With the winner of the Monte-Carlo Million Dollar Super Four confirming himself as a top contender in his respective division, and a world title opportunity on the horizon, combined with the massive prize money, each fighter is confident that they will be the last man standing.
"It is a dream come true for me to participate in this tournament," said Edwin Rodriguez. "I have worked my entire life for this opportunity and don't plan on wasting it. While I am happy and honored to be in the tournament, I won't be satisfied until I win it. Having not had the opportunity to participate in the 2008 Olympics, it's an added bonus to be placed against an undefeated former Olympian in Maderna for my first fight. I want to thank to my manager Larry Army and my promoter Lou DiBella for putting me in this position and also a special thanks to Rodney Berman and Golden Gloves for giving me this opportunity."
Rodriguez, the USBA champion, is ranked the WBC #2, IBF #3, and WBA #7 super-middleweight in the world. Having grown up fighting on such networks as ESPN and Showtime, Rodriguez' last two fights were featured on the HBO network. In March last year, Rodriguez won a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over fellow super- middleweight contender Don George, and followed up that performance with a devastating eighth-round TKO stoppage over previously undefeated Jason Escalera in September.
While Rodriguez has been in the national spotlight for some time, the 2008 Argentinean Olympian Maderna, ranked as the WBO #6 and IBF #13-rated super-middleweight in the world, sees the tournament as his coming-out party.
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity of proving myself at the international level against the best," said Maderna. "This is my chance to show that I belong amongst the elite fighters in the world, and I promise that I will deliver."
A former two-division world champion, both at light heavyweight and cruiserweight, Erdei won the WBO light heavyweight title in 2004 and defended it 11 times before moving up in weight and winning a 12-round decision over Giacobbe Fragomeni for the WBC cruiserweight title on November 21, 2009. After defeating Fragomeni, Erdei took some time away from the ring and even contemplated retirement after a remarkably successful run as a professional and amateur. Erdei boasts an incredible amateur record, having won 212 amateur bouts and a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Erdei returned to the ring in late 2010, this time under the new promotional banner of DiBella Entertainment, with hopes of becoming a star in the United States. He quickly won two fights, including a sixth-round TKO over former super-middleweight champion Byron Mitchell, positioning himself for a shot at reclaiming his light-heavyweight crown.
Erdei was scheduled to take on current undefeated IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud in December 2011, but the card was cancelled and the bout against Cloud was called off.
Erdei is extremely motivated to get back into the ring and show everyone that he is still one of the top fighters in the world.
"I feel healthy, energized and focused," said Erdei. "I have the opportunity with this tournament to prove that I am still the one of the best in the world. Winning the tournament puts me right in line for a shot at reclaiming my world championship, and there is no way I will let that opportunity pass me by."
Rated as the number six light-heavyweight in the WBC world ratings, Russian native Grachev was a two-time world kick-boxing champion before becoming a professional boxer in 2007. Grachev had his coming-out party on April 27, 2012, when he took on the undefeated and highly regarded 17-0, top 10 light-heavyweight contender Ismayl Sillakh on ESPN's Friday Night Fights. Grachev was able to dominate the southpaw Sillakh, who entered the contest as an 11-1 betting favorite, stopping him in the eight round of their scheduled 10-round contest. With the victory, Grachev won the NABF title.
On November 3, 2012, Grachev faced former IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute, in Bute's hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, at the Bell Centre. Despite Grachev being the aggressor and the busier of the two, Bute was awarded a close unanimous decision. With the bad taste of the Bute decision still resonating, Grachev believes that this tournament is the perfect way to get himself back into the world title picture.
"I believe that I am fighting the best out of the four of us, but once I beat Erdei, I will then be the top guy left in the tournament," proclaimed Grachev. "I can't rely on the judges in these bouts. That is why I am going to take matters into my own hands and I am going into this tournament with the full intention of knocking both of my opponents out. This is a huge opportunity for me and a way for me to reach my ultimate goal as being recognized as one of the best fighters in the entire world."
"This is a huge opportunity for these four fighters," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment and promoter of Rodriguez and Erdei. "The winner of this tournament clearly cements themselves as one of the top fighters in the entire world and I am thrilled to be a part of what promises to be a historic event."
Situated on the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is one of the most exclusive vacation destinations in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. The Casino de Monte-Carlo, owned and operated by the Monte-Carlo SBM Group, is the premiere casino destination in Europe. It continues to attract gamblers among the wealthiest and most well-known celebrities.
A country rich in sports history, Monaco is home of the world famous Formula 1 Grand Prix motor race and many major international events such as the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
The "Monte-Carlo Million Dollar Super Four" will be broadcast internationally, including countries across Western Europe, the US, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and 50 nations throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including adjacent islands.