Johannesburg - Saturday’s fight involving Thomas “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen has become so crucial that the unbeaten local southpaw cannot even look bad in winning when he faces off against Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga at Emperors Palace.
This is because Oosthuizen’s next fight against unbeaten power-punching Kazakhstan-born Gennady Golovkin has been signed, sealed and delivered for January 19 at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York.
MEAN MACHINES: Tommy Oosthuizen faces Fulgencio Zuniga of Columbia on Saturday in a fight the local fighter cant afford to lose.Picture: Motshwari Mofoken. Credit: Motshwari Mofokeng
The Star reported last week that talks were at an advanced stage for the fight but the stumbling block was the weight at which it will be contested as Golovkin is a middleweight while Oosthuizen campaigns in the super middleweight division.
However, this week Golovkin has agreed to move up to super middleweight class to take on Oosthuizen after his first targeted opponent Edwin Rodriguez turned down the fight despite being promised a career best payday.
Golovkin holds the IBO and WBA middleweight titles and introduced himself to the partisan US boxing fans and television networks in a dramatic fashion when he knocked out Grezegorz Proska in five rounds less than a month ago.
Oosthuizen’s promoter Rodney Berman, who has been negotiating with the K2 Promotions - owned by the world heavyweight champions brothers Wladimir and Vitali - that promotes Golovkin, confirmed that the loose ends had been tied and the fight is a go for January 19.
“We are excited to sign for this fight because it will be the biggest fight Tommy will be involved in,” he said.
“I mean this Kazakhstan guy is reportedly a monster but we have utmost confidence on Tommy’s ability.”
Rodriguez, who together with Oosthuizen is rated as the best super middleweight rising stars, is also under the promotional banner of Lou DiBella who has been responsible for organising fights for the unbeaten local in US.
Berman could not overemphasise the need for Tommy to look good against Zuniga when there is such a mega-bout coming.
“Tommy needs to produce a sparkling performance against this Colombian guy to send the message out there that he has arrived,” he said.
Oosthuizen, 24, who is unbeaten in 21 bouts scoring 13 stoppages will however have his hands full against the veteran 35-year-old Colombian who has shared the ring with the best in the world. Their fight will top the Nashua Cruiserweight Super 8 finals between Danie Venter and Thabiso Mchunu.
Gideon Buthelezi will also be chasing for his third world title when he meets Filipino Edrin Dapulong for the vacant IBO junior bantamweight crown.