Oosthuizen urged to beef up

Tommy Oosthuizen (Gallo Images)
Tommy Oosthuizen (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - IBO super-middleweight champion Tommy Oosthuizen should move up to the heavier light-heavyweight division, said Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman.

He came to this conclusion after a bruised and bloodied Oosthuizen secured an unimpressive majority points victory over Argentina's Ezequiel Maderna at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.

"Considering Tommy's recent problems in making the super-middleweight limit, this could be the reason for his lacklustre displays in his last couple of fights," Berman said.

"Certainly, the Oosthuizen we saw on Saturday night was nothing like the boxer who had excited the fans during the earlier stage of his career."

If the Oosthuizen camp, headed by trainer Harold Volbrecht, heeded Berman's suggestion, it would mean surrendering the IBO super-middleweight title.

However, the Golden Gloves promoter suggested it was more important for Oosthuizen to regain his old sparkle and lethal punching ability.

"If this means starting again in the light-heavyweight division, well and good," Berman said.

He revealed that progress towards Oosthuizen securing a light-heavyweight title fight had been discussed during a meeting with WBA officials on a recent trip to the US.

"He is only in his mid-20s and with a lot of time to make an impact in boxing's big-time, but he has to come to the party," Berman said.

Oosthuizen appeared in danger of losing his IBO title even before getting into the ring against Maderna.

He arrived at the pre-fight weigh-in almost an hour late, then battled to make the super-middleweight limit at the first attempt.

A drawn and seemingly anxious Oosthuizen finally made the mandatory 168lb super-middleweight mark.

Had he failed to make the limit, he would automatically have been stripped of his title.

While Oosthuizen's late arrival at the weigh-in was due to car trouble, his stalled ability to make the weight seemed the main problem.

Once hailed as the budding "Golden Boy" of South African boxing, Oosthuizen's stocks have taken a downward slide.

The unbeaten IBO champion gained what was widely regarded a lucky and largely listless draw against Mexican-American Brandon Gonzales in his previous fight before going against Moderna.

During his early fights, Oosthuizen disposed of his opponents in a lethal manner with power punching. He has now not secured a knock-out win in almost two years.

Although Oosthuizen was declared the winner against Moderna by two of the three judges to give him a majority verdict, the third judge made the fight a draw.

The South African finished the 12 rounds with blood oozing from a deep cut on the bridge of his nose and looked as though he had had a hard night's work. Moderna was unmarked and appeared as fresh as a daisy.

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