“Triple Thunder” at Emperors Palace - by Terry Pettifer
It seldom gets bigger than this! Three
world title bouts on one evening, two
of which rank amongst the most eagerly
awaited local showdowns in recent
years. If there’s a late stampede
for tickets, don’t be surprised, and methinks
there’ll be hordes of late-comers
queuing for a glimpse of the action.
Thankfully for those who won’t make
it to Emperors Palace on the night of
Saturday, July 11, the savage mechanics of this trip-hammer event will be televised LIVE per courtesy of Super- Sport and if pre-advanced interest is anything to go by, folks will be talking boxing for weeks afterwards!
So why the intense interest in this
star-studded event? Golden Gloves
Promoter Rodney Berman probably
summed it up best. “It’s the age-old
hero versus villain routine in one of the
fights (Oosthuizen vs Lovett) and the
grim realization that in at least one of
the others (Ndou vs Ndou) the loser
may be featuring in his last championship
event. Moreover the third world
title bout (Vetyeka vs Barcelona) on
the bill features an intriguing match between two of the most lively and combative exponents on the international bantamweight scene. With that type of product mix, why wouldn’t this tournament roster evoke thunderous applause?” asked Berman.
Since few local pundits can recall a more sought after fight than that between the two 22-year-old’s; Jared “The Storm” Lovett (8-0, 8 knockouts) and Tommy “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen (8-0, 8 knockouts), it’s easy to understand why acolytes from various parts of South Africa will be journeying to Emperors Palace, to see which of these barnstorming punchers triumphs on the night.
Besides carving a lucrative payday
for their belligerent endeavours, the swashbuckling Lovett and the more
reticent Oosthuizen will be dueling for
the vacant IBO Youth world light
heavyweight title; the first time ever
that such a bout is staged on these
By promoter Berman’s evaluation, it is virtually impossible to know which of these two splintering hitters ultimately “kisses polly” (gets knocked out!)
The southpaw Oosthuizen would appear to be gaining slightly in the popularity stakes, but so too did countless other gloved exponents prior to being dismantled.
Taller, leaner and arguably more clinical
than his equally fierce opponent,
Oosthuizen will have veteran trainer
Harold Volbrecht in his corner, while
the smouldering Lovett has his illustrious manager Brian Mitchell, recently
returned from induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, there to assist up-and-coming trainer Colin Nathan. Some experts feel that while the dark-haired Lovett has physical strength on his side, his tendency to freely exchange punches could prove disastrous against a skyscraper hitter like Oosthuizen. Not so, though,
African Ring publisher Jeff Ellis, who predicts that the “Storm” will blow Oosthuizen away inside five rounds.
“Jared is just too hot for Tommy to handle”- said Ellis. Other analysts, Ron Jackson and Andries Steyn, however, are firm for Oosthuizen, citing his “edge” in firepower as the winning ticket! “I’m only going with Oosthuizen because I think he’s the harder puncher” said Jackson. “Other than that there’s nothing in it”.
The Lovemore Ndou vs Phillip Ndou
battle for the vacant IBO welterweight
crown has also garnered interesting
reviews by hardened pen-pushers contemptuous
of cannon-fodder opposition.
“This fight is for real” said veteran
expert Paul Hetz. “What is more, either
fighter could conceivably win what
promises to be a thrilling twelve-round
encounter.” Phillip Ndou is notably the
more devastating hitter, having
starched no less than 31 of his 32 professional
victims. Initially a featherweight,
Ndou went on to lift WBU
championship honours as a junior
lightweight and beat arch-rival Cassius
Baloyi in one of the greatest fights
ever staged on South African soil.
Baloyi remains the only one of Ndou’s
victims to have gone the distance!
After that the Timebomb ventured into
the lightweight ranks, before capitulating
inside seven rounds to Floyd Mayweather
for the WBC lightweight title
on November 1, 2003. A subsequent
12-round ‘split’ decision loss to Isaac
Hlatsawayo (113-115, 115-113, 113-
115) the following May led to Ndou’s
premature retirement from the sport by means of contentious medical advice.
Earlier this year Ndou (32) returned
to the ring after an absence of almost
5 years, and in his first comeback fight, in France, he trounced Rachid Drilzane, scoring a 5th round TKO.
Can the “Timebomb” carry the omnipotence he had as a junior lightweight into the welterweight division? It’s a question nobody knows the answer to, although Ndou’s trainer Mick Castalano would have us believe that he is sharper than ever.
Clearly the fearsome punching Ndou
will have his mettle sorely tested when
he squares up to his 37-year-old Limpopo namesake, who for a number
of years has fought out of Australia,
where he’s gleaned sizable international
fame en route to winning the IBF
junior welterweight crown in 2007.
Lovemore, who sports one of the most
dependable jaws in the business, has
amassed an overall record of 46-11-1
with 31 knockouts and fought some of
the most renowned competitors on the
planet, amongst them Junior Witter, Kermit Citron, Miguel Angel Cotto, Sharmba Mitchell and Paul Malignaggito whom he lost the IBF junior welterweight championship in 2007.
An incredibly fit and durable craftsman, Lovemore Ndou could conceivably be the punters choice in this potential slugfest, if only due to his greater experience and proven ruggedness under fire.
Eric Barcelona (47-15-4) of the Philippines, is no stranger to South Africa, having previously fought here and given the then IBO bantamweight champion Silence Mabuza a grueling night’s work.
A fiery boxer who relishes toe-to-toe warfare, Barcelona will however have a torrid assignment when he enters the ring to meet the Eastern Cape’s Simpiwe Vetyeka (18-1) in a contest for the vacant IBO bantamweight title. Promoter Rodney Berman believes that Vetyeka could become one of his consortium’s finest chievers in years, but until he faces off against the highly seasoned Barcelona, there are a number of skeptics who’ll remain unconvinced.
A fitting inclusion on the TRIPLE THUNDER undercard, is junior flyweight sensation Hekkie “The Hexecutioner” Budler, who in a couple of months will fight for the vacant IBO junior flyweight belt.