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It’s ‘East’ versus ‘South’ when Oosthuizen fights Lovett

Hey….want to see the best local dust up since Ndou fought Baloyi and Coetzer fought Du Plooy? Then be at Emperors Palace on the Winter’s night of July 11, when two young warriors named Tommy Oosthuizen and Jared Lovett swap punches for the first ever “Youth” world championship held in South Africa.

Per courtesy of the IBO (International Boxing Organization), these two protagonists
will battle for a decorated belt symbolizing their coming and hopefully all the riches and trappings that go with being a pugilistic king. They know no fear, feel no pain and hit with savage force, asking no quarter and giving none in return. Or so we are told.

Actually young Tommy (21) –whose potency of clout has earned him the nickname
“Tommy Gun”- and Jared (22)-who this scribe dubbed “The Storm”, are fairly well-mannered, likeable young fellows who just happen to be involved in the toughest sport in the world! Indeed while their naturally affable natures outside the ring have earned them the respect of their acolytes in the East Rand and Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg respectively, once they strip for combat, their adulation comes from them being able to smear the opposition all over the canvas, the sooner the better!

Lovett hails from Irish/English stock, was trained as an amateur by his father Aubrey, himself no slouch with the gloves and has come to fame with 8
knockouts in as many bouts.
By contrast, the string-bean Oosthuizen is as Afrikaans as biltjong, and is son to former national junior middleweight
and middleweight champion Charles, who made a living beating the senses out of opponents during the 1980’s. Oh yes, young Thomas has accounted for all his 9 victims via the short route, and with venom aforethought.

An electrician by trade, Oosthuizen resides in Boksburg, which was the same town that gave the world Gerrie Coetzee, former WBA world heavyweight champion. Lovett has studied sports management, loves music –especially drum and base and hip-hop, and has made pugilism his life since being able to walk. To date his career has been as meteoric as Oosthuizen’s and don’t let anyone tell you there is a better looking boxer in South Africa. An Elvis Presley look alike? That’s what they say down Rosettenville way, where his sire Aubrey spent his turbulent youth.

The fact that these two excellent light heavyweights are on collision course so early in their profession bears analyses. But as Golden Gloves Promoter Rodney Berman so aptly put it, “There will be no loser on the night, since we’ve signed the loser to a three-year contract that specifies him having at least four bouts a year for no less than R50,000 per fight!”

Bearing this in mind, who wants to finish second in this potential donnybrook?

Certainly not Oosthuizen, (9-0, with 9 knockouts) whose trainer is former SA welterweight titleholder Harold “The Hammer” Volbrecht. “I’m privileged to being
given this fight because I’ve long dreamed about fighting Lovett, but for one reason or another we were never matched as amateurs. Come July 11 there will be
only one winner and I aim to be that man” said the pale-faced slayer from Van Dyck Park, Boksburg. And Lovett? “I know that Oosthuizen is a great hitter but I mean to use all the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years to neutralize both his size and reach. Yes, I’ll knock him out!” By the way, Lovett hails from a suburb that has produced more than it’s fair share of ring marvels over the years, amongst them Ernie Eustice, Willie Smith, Bruce McIntyre, Len Leisching, Herbie Vermeulen
and Grant Webster.

So with both fighters talking victory this writer found it appropriate to sound out
the opinions of various experts, as to which boxer will ultimately triumph on the night.

Man-about-boxing Jeff Ellis clearly leans towards Lovett, who he believes is “by
far the better strategist”. Yet Ellis sounded a warning: “Oosthuizen has death-ray eyes and as a southpaw is an instinctive counter puncher. Lovett cannot be too careful, especially in the early rounds. Having said that, I’m tipping Lovett to win the fight, although it should prove to be a rip-roaring war while it lasts”.

Trainer Manny Fernandes is a neutral observer, but he feels that Oosthuizen has
a slight edge. “My only concern is the fact that Oosthuizen has hitherto been boxing as a super middleweight and as you know weight stops trains. If he (Oosthuizen) comes in strong on the night I’d pick him to win a fever-pitched
battle”.

Bongani Magasela of Sowetan was guarded in his appraisal of the contest. “This
is really a very tough call. One punch could and probably will swing the fight.
But since I know that Lovett takes a great shot on the chin, as seen when he
fought Ronnie Lategan, and have reservations about Oosthuizen’s durability, I
would cautiously fancy the ‘Storm’ to win the title. Mind you it could well go
the other way it’s that tough a pick”.

Veteran sportswriter Chris Swanepoel never hesitated in selecting Lovett. “Boxing
is not always about talent, more often than not it’s about dedication and perseverance and I doubt whether there’s a fitter fighter in the country at
present than Lovett.”

Well known southern suburbs boxing personality Brian Pretorius, however,
sees Oosthuizen winning the fight, because as he put it, “He moves too fast,
is ring wise and has a thunderous left hand”.

Paul Hetz of the now defunct Boxing Express had one of the most outright comments. “Oosthuizen is a blood-and-guts fighter like his father was, while Lovett is a thinking boxer-puncher. If it goes into the trenches, which I’m saying it will, Lovett will walk into a haymaker and be counted out inside six rounds”.

Former light heavyweight contender Lionel Hunter expects to see a very tough
fight but believes that Lovett’s superior skill and precision will carry the day. “I’m not too clued up on Oosthuizen but I know Jared and being from the ‘South’ I
naturally favour my hometown fighter. Lovett to win, either on points or by a
knockout”.

Though Golden Gloves Promotions CEO Rodney Berman would not be drawn into
picking a victor, his remarks on the fight were nonetheless illuminating. “Because
of the level of pride and passion involved this will go down in SA ring history as having been one of the most explosive and unforgettable fights of the era. Irrespective of who emerges victorious, I believe that we have a local ring epic on
the cards”.

Radio personality Peter Leopeng has been covering the fight beat for a number
of years and found it impossible to select a winner. “Whichever fighter lands
first wins the fight, it’s that simple”.

And on that rather poignant note, we eagerly await July 11 and the fireworks
to come.