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SOUTH African boxing sensation Thomas “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen has promised to leave another lasting impression when he defends his IBO super middleweight title against Florida’s Rowland Bryant at Roseland Ballroom in New York, tomorrow morning (SA time).
At a final presser at Jack Dempsey’s restaurant in New York City yesterday, Oosthuizen said the month-long preparations in the US have shaped him into a powerful fighter ready to display his best performance ever.
Unbeaten in 20 bouts with a draw and 13 stoppages, Oosthuizen insisted that he was not underestimating Bryant, who has lost once only in 17 bouts, with 11 KOs.
After impressive performances against two US fighters, Aaron Pryor jr and Marcus Johnson, in his previous US visits, the 24-year-old southpaw has assumed a “favourites” tag going to the clash against Bryant even though he is a visitor.
Bryant, who missed yesterday’s presser, had previously said he thought Oosthuizen was overlooking him because of the long lay-off he has had and the fact the South African fighter has enjoyed a good run in the US lately.
But “Tommy Gun”, who will be vying for his fifth title defence, dismissed the perception, insisting that he had never underestimated any of his 20 opponents.
“I take every fight as though it is my last fight and I never look down on my opponents,” Oosthuizen assured.
“If I was underestimating Bryant I would not have come here a month earlier to prepare for the fight.
“The fact that I have been here for the whole month together with my full team, including my sparring partner Johnny Muller who is a light heavyweight, shows that I am taking this fight very seriously.”
Oosthuizen, who has been mentioned as a likely opponent for IBF super middleweight champion Car Froch in a fight set for Nottingham in the UK in November, said his main focus was Bryant and nothing else.
“I have been informed that I may face Froch in November and that is good because it is the fight that I have been yearning for. But right now my main focus is Bryant,” he said.
“I have seen fighters overlooking their opponents when a big fight is on the cards and end up not getting it but I can assure you, I am not one of them.”
Indeed, fighters such as Victor Ortiz stumbled against a relatively easy opponent like Josesito Lopez when he was already assured that he would face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a mega bout in September.
Oosthuizen’s promoter, Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP), said negotiations with the Froch camp were ongoing and there is intense interest for “Tommy Gun” to face the “Cobra” in England.
“But Tommy needs to focus on the job at hand, otherwise all the hard work we are doing in the boardroom may come to naught,” he said.
Berman revealed that besides the Froch fight, Oosthuizen has also been short-listed to face TMT- newly signed André Dirrell in an HBO televised bout also in November.
l The fight will be shown live on SuperSport on SuperSport 2 tomorrow from 4am