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Oosthuizen out to improve USA image

On the surface, IBO super middleweight champion Tommy Oosthuizen, ranked seventh in the world in his division by the authoritative Ring Magazine, should not be unduly troubled by Marcus Johnson in a non-title bout at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma on Saturday morning (SA time).

The 26 year-old Johnson is described as a “pot shot” fighter who relies heavily on chilling his opponents with a single crushing blow although he has not quite lived up to the high expectations held out for him after a commendable amateur career.

Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen. Credit: Gallo Images

However, the fact that his record of 21 wins from 20 bouts is sprinkled with 16 knock-out successes is sufficient warning to the talented 23 year-old Oosthuizen not to lower his guard and become complacent.

The fight is due to be televised in South Africa on Saturday morning and Oosthuizen's local promoters, Golden Gloves, will, no doubt, be hoping that the fighter who is nicknamed “Tommy Gun”, does not fire blanks and further enhances his image in the United States as a money-spinning drawcard.

The big money for fighters these days is making an impact on the American TV circuit and that will be the big test for Oosthuizen this time around.

A unification bout for Oosthuizen with the much-vaunted champions of the WBA and WBC has also been mooted - but this could be blown sky-high if he does not impress against Johnson.

Oosthuizen has already made good progress by beating the respected Aaron Pryor junior in his only previous fight in America last September -considered by many leading boxing authorities as his best-ever performance.

The unbeaten Oosthuizen's combination of punching power, a high work-rate and skilful boxing is not unlike that of Dyah Davis, who comfortably outpointed Johnson last year.

Johnson's career has been smattered with minor suspensions and discipline is clearly not his forte.

Against a fighter of Oosthuizen's calibre, he will have to increase his usual work-rate to cause his opponent problems.

Although Johnson is listed by the IBO as a light-heavyweight, he weighed in less than a kilogram more than Oosthuizen at Thursday's weigh-in in Oklahoma.

And the message from Oosthuizen on the eve of the fight is that he has never been in better condition and has taken full advantage of the superb training facilities in America to lift his level to a new peak. – Sapa

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