The intriguing on-again off-again fight between southpaw sluggers Tommy Oosthuizen and Thabiso Mchunu is back on.
Despite Golden Gloves’ previous hesitation to make the fight, promoter Rodney Berman said that “boxing is bigger than Golden Gloves”, which is why he has signed the pair to a July 23 showdown at Emperors Palace.
Asked about Oosthuizen’s flirtations with the law, which have recently landed him in trouble, Berman said that trainer Harold Volbrecht would keep the 29-year-old on a tight leash. Part of the deal will see him being drug tested weekly.
Notwithstanding his demons, at his best Oosthuizen is an outstanding fighter with good instincts, speed and power. He’s lost a single fight in 10 years, although it’s tempting to ponder how well he might have gone had he not squandered a series of opportunities.
Until recently, Mchunu was a high-flying cruiserweight, but he must rebuild after a crushing defeat to Olekandr Usyk and a shock loss to Constantin Bejenaru in his last outing. However, he possesses abundant skills, as we saw last year in his shutout win over Johnny Muller.
In fact, he’s never lost to a South African as a professional and will be determined to maintain that record against Oosthuizen.
Mchunu’s movement, fast hands and side-on southpaw style make him a tricky opponent to master, although Oosthuizen won’t be daunted. He frequently spars bigger men and invariably looks after himself with few problems.
“I like this fight,” said Golden Gloves publicist Brian Mitchell. “Even with all his problems, Tommy can be a helluva fighter. And Thabiso is very capable, he won’t be that easy to hit.”
The challenge, as ever, is to keep Oosthuizen on the straight and narrow until fight time.