By Mesuli Zifo
The spotlight might be on the Andre Berto’s IBF welterweight title challenge to Slovenian Jan Zaveck at Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, US on Saturday but South African Thomas Oosthuizen is determined to steal the show when he takes on Aaron Pryor Jnr on the HBO televised co feature.
Ironically Zaveck’s title reign began in Oosthuizen’s country where he upset favored Isaac Hlatshwayo with a third round stoppage to lift the IBF crown in December 11, 2009.
The defeat signaled the demise of Hlatshwayo’s career which has been on a downward spiral since. But despite three title defences, the Germany- based champion is still some sort of an unknown customer in the US and will therefore to be eager to make a dramatic introduction to the US boxing scene.
But Oosthuizen who will also be making his own US debut believes he is the one who will emerge as a subject of discussion by boxing fans.
“I am here to make a statement and afterwards I want people to talk about me for a long time, “the 23-year-old southpaw said.
Oosthuizen has been a subject of criticism from his own country regarding his top ten Ring Magazine rating in the talent rich super middleweight division with boxing critics feeling the lofty rating was a bit generous to him when he is yet to prove himself at the world stage.
With 15 wins and 16 bouts against single draw he was lucky to be given against Isaac Chilembe, Oosthuizen’s ledger does not contain a big name, which brings into question his high rating.
And the youngster says he is ready to prove that Ring Magazine has not made a mistake by rating him so high.
“Look, I am unbeaten and young and I will prove my mettle against this Pryor guy,” he said.
Oosthuizen who often dwarfs his opponents will not enjoy such luxury against Pryor Jnr as the “Son of the Legend” will probably be taller than him.
Oosthuizen, who is lodging at the same hotel with Pryor Jnr says he is aware that he will not enjoy the reach advantage he often commands over his opponents.
“He is a bit taller than me so I will have to use my other advantages to win such as my hand speed,” he said, admitting that he and Pryor Jnr have been exchanging glances when coming across each other in the hotel foyer.
“But we did not say anything to each other besides just exchanging glances.”
The bout will pit the sons of former professional fighters even though Thomas’ father Charles pales in comparison to Aaron Pryor senior who ruled the junior welterweight division with an iron fist in the 1980s.
Charles’ boxing achievements only went as far as winning the SA light heavyweight title but his son who is already the reigning IBO super middleweight champion appears destined to eclipse him.