Johannesburg – It is meant as no more than a stepping stone for South Africa's exciting Tommy Oosthuizen when he fights relative journeyman Rowland Bryant in defence of his IBO super-middleweight title in New York on Thursday night (Friday morning SA time).
But over-confidence and complacency can at times result in a hot-shot fighter tripping up on even a stepping stone and canny Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman, who is part of the Oosthuizen entourage in America, has warned the classy East Rand prodigy not to take anything for granted.
Berman is fully aware of what an impressive performance in New York would mean for Oosthuizen's image, with a more eye-catching and lucrative title defence already on the line in the United States in October.
The 32 year-old Bryant is rated 36th in the super-middleweight division by the IBO, and while he has a satisfactory record of 15
wins from 16 bouts, he has never fought anyone of real note before.
A fit and confident Oosthuizen gave every indication that the veteran US battler would not give him any serious problems when he declared at a pre-fight media conference that “when you train as hard as I have, the fight itself will be the easy work.”
With this in mind, the South African camp has included SA light-heavyweight Johnny Muller as a sparring partner for Oosthuizen and former world champion Brian Mitchell to contribute his expertise.
What Oosthuizen, Berman and trainer Harold Volbrecht are already eyeing in the long term is a match-up with one of the champions of the more widely recognised international associations.
In the meantime, however, Oosthuizen would do well not to overlook stepping-stone Bryant, with a defeat or even a lacklustre performance calamitous for all his future plans and high ambitions. – Sapa