It’s been eight months since all-action super middleweight contender Thomas Oosthuizen was last in the boxing ring, winning a near shut out decision over heavy handed Fulgencio Zuniga. The 25-year-old South African returns from the hiatus as part of HBO’s Boxing After Dark tripleheader this Saturday when he meets unbeaten Brandon Gonzalesat Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Conn.
The layoff was due to various reasons, of which Oosthuizen explains “My management team were busy negotiating with HBO. This fight has been postponed twice due to TV dates.”
Though Oosthuizen has stayed busy in the gym there’s nothing quite like actually fighting to stay sharp. In 2012, “Tommy Gun” went 4-0 upping his overall ledger to 21-0-1 with 13 stoppages. In doing so he stopped Serge Yannick in six, before besting the trio of Marcus Johnson, Bryant Rowland and Fulgencio Zuniga, a mixture of fellow up-and-comers and solid mid-level fighters.
In what will be Oosthuizen’s fourth appearance in America, had this to say about Gonzales:
“We are both undefeated, hungry for bigger things, and want to impress our handlers, but I know I have what it takes to rule this division.”
The tripleheader is headlined by Gennady Golovkin’s WBA middleweight defense against grizzled British contender Matthew Macklin, while rising junior middleweight contender Willie Nelson squares off against Argentina’s Luciano Cuello in the opening bout of the broadcast, which starts at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Anson Wainwright: What are your thoughts on the Gonzales fight?
Thomas Oosthuizen: It’s going to be a fight of speed and technique. We are both undefeated, hungry for bigger things, and want to impress our handlers, but I know I have what it takes to rule this division.
AW: What do you think of Gonzales as a fighter, what do you see as his strengths and what areas do you feel you can exploit?
TO: He is good and has sparred with Andre Ward. Ring craft and (trainer) Harold (Volbrecht)’s advice will be key (to my victory). (Gonzales) comes from a very good amateur background, basics are very well honed, but he hasn’t experienced someone with my hand speed and determination.
AW: You’re last three fights have all gone the distance, do you feel with this fight being on HBO that you need a KO to really make an impression?
TO: All the boxes are ticked, all my preparations have gone extremely well, a knockout will be the cherry on the top.
AW: It will be your first fight in nearly eight months, how come you’ve been off so long?
TO: My management team were busy negotiating with HBO. This fight has been postponed twice due to TV dates, so I’ve been busy in the gym waiting for June 29.
AW: You’re 6-foot-4 yet make 168 pounds. Do you make weight without problems? Could you talk us through your training, where you train, how many hours a day, a typical day, sparring and what your diet is like? What is your walk-around weight between fights?
TO: In between fights I walk around at 172 but with a lot of road work and intense training in the pre fight period, it comes off quickly! My day starts with a 10 km run to the gym, then two hours of boxing training averaging eight rounds of sparring and bag work and speed ball. Three times a week we just concentrate on technique. Home to rest, and in the evening a steady four or five km run. I eat a good well balanced diet, low on carbs high on protein, lots of fruit and veggies, drink plenty of water.
AW: What have you worked on for this fight?
TO: We have worked on speed and power for this opportunity. I’m ready to shine.
AW: Could you tell us about your team, manager, trainer and promoter? Also how did you come to be co-promoted by Lou DiBella?
TO: My trainer and manager is Harold Volbrecht, my promoter in South African is Rodney Berman, who co-promotes me with Lou DiBella overseas. I’m part of the Golden Gloves family and as I progressed to the international arena, Rodney introduced me to his partner Lou DiBella and that’s how the relationship was formed.
AW: You were born in Gauteng, South Africa, can you tell us about your younger days?
TO: Everyone grows up with problems of sorts – that’s life! It’s how you take what you’re handed and make the best of it. Yeah, there have been tough times!
I’m the youngest of three children, the eldest being my brother Charlie who is also a professional boxer, next is my sister Charlene, the pretty one of the family. My father Charles, was a great middleweight South African champion. And my mother, the glue that keeps the Oosthuizen close and on the straight and narrow. Nieces and nephews add new dynamics to our family.
AW: What do you think of the super middleweight division?
TO: Currently the strongest of all the divisions.
AW: If I give you the top 10 according to our rankings at THE RING, what do you think of each guyÔÇª
C – Andre Ward – The chess player and all rounder.
1. Carl Froch – Strong, a workhorse.
2. Mikkel Kessler – Very solid fighter.
3. Lucian Bute – Past his sell by date.
4. Robert Stieglitz – Don’t know too much about him, a little overrated.
5. Thomas Oosthuizen – The ‘Package’ as Harold says!
6. Arthur Abraham – Heavy handed, not an artist.
7. George Groves – Improving with every fight.
8 – Sakio Bika – Strong well conditioned but age is catching up with him.
9 – Edwin Rodriguez – Young like myself but still needs a lot of experience
10 – James DeGale – Another contender to watch, would love to fight him!
AW: Tell us a little about yourself and what you enjoy doing away from boxing?
TO: I like to relax doing some fishing, starting to play golf with my trainer, and I get a hiding of note each game, but winners never quit. I will master it! I’m involved with my church and do some youth counselling.
AW: Lastly do you have a message for Gonzales and the super middleweight division?
TO: Only one thing on my mind – a win in dynamic style!
Photos / Tom Casino-SHOWTIME, Gallo Images-Getty Images