DURBAN – Thomas Oosthuizen breathed massive life into his career, albeit controversially, when he dethroned Thabiso Mchunu of his ABU cruiserweight title at Emperors Palace at the weekend.
Fight promoter Rodney Berman, who staged the fight under his Golden Gloves banner, admitted that the outcome could have gone either way.
“I think Mchunu’s slow start cost him at the end,” he said. “Although he officially lost, Mchunu will still remain part of our plans.”
By winning the fight, the errant Oosthuizen has earned a shot at reigning IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena.
Berman, who is already salivating at the prospect of the fight, said Lerena – who is still recovering from a shoulder operation which ruled him out of the World Boxing Super Series II – will engage in another bout before facing the boxer nicknamed ‘Tommy Gun’.
The magnitude of the fight promises to rank alongside the biggest bouts in the land.
“It will indeed be one of the biggest fights in local boxing,” added Berman.
Saturday’s battle of the southpaws was fought at a pedestrian pace with both boxers waiting for each other to make the first move.
Pitting two boxers with contrasting physiques, the more chiselled-bodied Mchunu relied heavily on counter punching his taller opponent.
Oosthuizen, who sported a flab around the waistline, often got off first and probably won the opening stanza of the fight with quick jabs.
Mchunu appeared to figure him out as he countered with harder, albeit fewer punches.
The bout continued, with both boxers having their moments.
In the championship rounds, Mchunu pressed the action, capitalising on the poor conditioning of his opponent as he landed crisp punches, but Oosthuizen was never in danger of being floored.
In the end, the outcome seemed to be up in the air, with the job resting on what the three judges preferred.
Two credited Oosthuizen’s bright start with identical 115-113 scores, while the third had it even at 114-114.
Mchunu protested the outcome, accusing the judges of giving him a raw deal.
The main supporting bout at the weekend saw Ryno Liebenberg scoring a fifth-round stoppage win over Alfonso Tissen to lift the ABU super middleweight title.
Former IBO world featherweight champion Lusanda Komanisi was upset by unheralded Michael Mokoena via a second-round knockout in an ABU lightweight title clash.
Komanisi was making his debut in the lightweight division after jumping two divisions from featherweight.
After the devastating loss, which was his second in a row after he was knocked out by Filipino Jhack Tepora, Komanisi announced his retirement from boxing.