at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – Accomplished IBO super-middleweight champion Tommy Oosthuizen's future in the division has come into question, despite a comprehensive and clear-cut defence of his title in the points victory over Columbian Fulgenico Zuniga at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.
Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu, meanwhile, proved his undoubted superiority in the Super Eight series by gaining a fifth round knockout victory over an outclassed Danie Venter in the final.
Oosthuizen weighed in at more than 700 grams above the super middleweight limit at Friday's weigh-in and only made the stipulated 76 kilograms after being given two hours to shed the surplus.
Standing at 1.9 metres and built like a Springbok rugby lock, questions have now been raised over whether Oosthuizen might be forced to move up to the light-heavyweight division and thereby miss out on his handlers' proclaimed intention to seek a fight for the more credible IBF super-middleweight title.
Tournament promoters Golden Gloves described the situation on their website as constituting “the first serious blip in a career that has so far run smoothly”, and declared that “the heat just got turned up a lot higher for Oosthuizen”.
Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman was “in a rage” and clearly upset that the carefully laid out plans for the South African fighter had been placed in jeopardy due to his “sloppiness in making weight”.
“I'm disgusted. This should never have happened and was unnecessary,” Berman said.
“He's up against a good fighter. This shows total unprofessionalism with what is at stake down the line. He’s messing up what could be a great career.”
Golden Gloves was equally scathing over the judgement that went against the Philippines' Edrin Dapudong, who broke into tears after it was announced that an outclassed Gideon Buthelezi was the surprise winner of their title fight.
“Bleeding from the nose and badly bruised around the left eye,” said the Golden Gloves statement, “Buthelezi took a beating, but got lucky with the judges – who made it 115-112, 113-114 and 115-113 in his favour.
“It was rough justice on Dapudong, who was both sharper and busier of the two fighters. Little wonder he looked perplexed and distraught when the scorecards were announced.
“Dapudong must have thought he had the fight in the bag when he delivered a flash nine-count knockdown on Buthelezi in the ninth round.
“Although Buthelezi recovered to see out the 12 rounds, he was off-colour and showed he is still a long way off the big guns in the super-flyweight division,” said the statement.
Elsewhere on the bill, Mchunu pocketed the R300 000 “Last Man Standing” winners' prize, the African Boxing Union title and a place as Africa's representative in the WBC's planned World Cup tournament next year, but also now seems ready to be tested in fights against leading contenders in the cruiserweight division. – Sapa