Watch as ‘Tommy Gun’ pulls the trigger
The stakes have seldom been higher.
On Saturday, Tommy Oosthuizen defends his IBO super-middleweight belt for the sixth time, with a big-money fight lined up for New York in January – if he wins.
And the winner of the Super Eight cruiserweight contest final, featuring Thabiso Mchunu against Danie Venter, will be entered into the WBC’s World Cup event.
These two bouts head the “Last Man Standing” tournament at Emperors Palace, to be broadcast live on SuperSport 6 from 7.30pm CAT (SA, GMT+2) on Saturday.
“Tommy Gun” fights Fulgencio Zuniga of Colombia, a rugged pro who has been in the paid ranks for 11 years and lost only to champion fighters like Kelly Pavlik, Tavoris Cloud and Lucian Bute.
He’s a tremendous puncher with 22 knockouts in his 25 wins, prompting promoter Rodney Berman to warn: “Tommy can’t afford to muck about. This guy can crack and if Tommy isn’t at his best he’ll end up on the canvas.”
Despite being unbeaten, Oosthuizen has gone walkabout in recent fights, something he can ill afford against Zuniga.
He has a fight pencilled in against WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden and any doubts about his readiness will jeopardise that opportunity.
The cruiserweight final threw up the least likely match-up in Venter against Mchunu. Few expected Venter to get this far, but boxing’s Cinderella Man is running hot with two devastating KOs (of Flo Simba and Zack Mwekassa) and hungry to avenge a previous defeat to Mchunu.
Mchunu has gone about his work like a model professional, twice overwhelming Simba, and carries good power.
However, Venter has a rock-hard chin and is in supreme physical condition, making this a pick ‘em fight.
In other fights, Gideon Buthelezi will attempt to get his career back on track when he fights Edrin Dapudong of the Philippines for the IBO junior-bantamweight title, while Ryno Liebenberg will defend his IBO All-Africa light-heavyweight belt against Donald Kampamba.
At junior-welterweight, rising star Allan Bouwer will look to preserve his unbeaten record against Vusi Balinkulu.