'Tommy Gun' in weight drama

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

Johannesburg - IBO super-middleweight champion Tommy Oosthuizen appeared in danger of losing his title on Friday even before getting into the ring against Argentinian Ezequiel Maderna at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.

Drama reigned at the final Golden Gloves' tournament weigh-in after Oosthuizen arrived almost an hour late and then battled to make the super-middleweight limit at the first attempt.

Much to the relief of all concerned, a drawn and seemingly anxious Oosthuizen finally made the mandatory 168lb super-middleweight limit.

Had Oosthuizen failed to make the limit, he would automatically have been stripped of his title. Once hailed as the budding "Golden Boy" of South African boxing, Oosthuizen's stocks have taken a downward slide, with the unbeaten IBO champion gaining what was widely regarded a lucky and largely listless draw against Mexican-American Brandon Gonzales in his last fight.

The boxer, who earned the nickname of "Tommy Gun" during his early fights because of the lethal manner in which he disposed of his opponents with power punching, has now not secured a knock-out win in almost two years.

Saturday's fight against Maderna finds Oosthuizen at the crossroads of his career - even before the weight issue further clouded his future.

Meanwhile, Maderna's manager Alberto Zacharius predicted that there would be an unlikely third round knockout.

"Promoter Rodney Berman is my friend," said the Spanish-speaking Zacharius.

"He is my good friend. So is Harold Volbrecht, who is training Oosthuizen, and Tommy as well - and I love South Africa. But Saturday night is no time for love and friends.

"We are here to do business and the business at hand is to beat Oosthuizen with what I predict will be a third-round knockout so that we can take the IBO title back to Argentina."

Oosthuizen believed he had what could prove a crucial advantage over his Argentinian opponent because he had been at the ringside in Monte Carlo earlier in the year when Maderna had lost for the only time in a 21-bout career against rugged Edwin Rodriquez.

"I know exactly what to expect from Maderna," said the South African IBO champion.

"I'll be a closed book as far as he is concerned and he is going to be in for a few unpleasant surprises."

Meanwhile, IBO strawweight champion Hekkie Budler, who is seeking one of boxing's more prestigious titles, will meet relatively untried Argentinian Hugo Verchelli in the second title bout on the Golden Gloves Promotion.

While the 24-year-old Verchelli is rated ninth by the IBF, 10th by the WBC and 11th by the WBA, he is relatively untried in the lightest weight division in boxing's firmament, having fought eight of his 12 fights against three little known fellow Argentinians.

Verchelli's only defeat was against Elias David Coronet, whom he has beaten three times, while also securing two victories against both Fabian Hernan Claro and Fernando David Alaniz.

His only victory against a fighter ranked among the top 50 strawweights by the IBO was against another Argentinian, Daniel Mendoza.

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