The Real Deal! - Holyfield visits Jamaica to set up 'Hitman' Russell title defence
Real Deal Boxing Promotions officials, including four-time World Heavyweight champion Evander 'The Real Deal' Holyfield and Chief Operating Officer Eric Bentley, as well as Uprising Promotions founder Ronson Frank, are currently in the island negotiating for a title fight for their client, Kemahl 'The Hitman' Russell.
Russell, the new Junior NABF Middleweight champion, will be defending his title in Kingston against an opponent, who has not yet be named, early next year.
Holyfield was full of praise for Russell while speaking with The Gleaner, drawing on similarities between himself and the Jamaican.
"He's a good fighter," Holyfield said. "You kinda see the potential that he has when you see him in the ring. I don't think I did anything out of the ordinary (during his time as a boxer), but I worked hard and I tried to burn people out in the ring. I would like to push you to see what you got as a fighter. He kinda fights that way, too."
Bentley credits Frank for coming up with the idea of having Russell defend his title in Jamaica.
"Ideally, we want to develop a fan base for all of our fighters so that they have a cultural national following," Bentley shared. "We'd like our American fighters to get there as well. Every fighter we have is from a different background, so we want to build them in their hometown. Just to give the country a sense of pride and give the fighters something to fight for.
"Frank came up to us saying that we can make a successful show in Jamaica. I followed his lead, and I came here, and I see the support that we get, and I think he's right. I think it could work," Bentley said.
Bentley continued saying ,that Russell has a bright future in boxing, saying that for him "the sky is the limit."
"He's a humble, well spoken good-looking kid and an exciting fighter," Bentley added. "He hasn't been fighting very long compared to some of the other world-class fighters out there, but he's been learning at an incredible pace. He's got a great team behind him. His trainer, Steven Frank, has done a tremendous job in developing him. He's going to need a little more seasoning, but he has the potential to someday fight for a world title."
Holyfield said that he was optimistic about the future of boxing in Jamaica, hoping that the country could produce more talent like Russell. However, while sharing concerns about the amateur boxing programme that exists in the United States, he said that local administrators must pay close attention to the development of Jamaican amateurs looking to transition to professional boxing.
"Jamaica's future in boxing all depends on how good the amateur programme is and the competition that they (amateur fighters) have," he said. "In America, we used to have good amateur programmes that would make the boxing good. Now, it's kinda watering down. It's not as good as it used to be. It's kinda strange that something can be going good, then all of a sudden, something changes."