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Thomas Oosthuizen: Tommy Gun is Ready for the World - Boxing News
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 Last update:  6/28/2013       Read more by Thomas Gerbasi         
   
Thomas Oosthuizen: Tommy Gun is Ready for the World
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By Thomas Gerbasi

Certain things can make a young fighter stand out in your memory: good power, blinding speed, a lethal left hook, flash, etc. But the thing that made me watch South African super middleweight Thomas Oosthuizen a bit closer was his reference in several interviews to modeling his style on a mix of Hall of Famers Thomas Hearns and Bob Foster.

Now thats an intriguing mix for sure, yet what impressed me is that the 25-year-old even knows who Bob Foster is. Call me cynical, but Im guessing that while the majority of his peers in the fight game would obviously know the Motor City Cobra, the Albuquerque light heavyweight terror would draw plenty of blank stares.

Unfortunate? Yes. But thats a rant for another time. For now, we can get back to Oosthuizen and his respect for his elders, from his father Charles (a former pro boxer himself) and trainer and former welterweight contender Harold Volbrecht, to the aforementioned Hearns and Foster.

That comes from Harold Volbrecht, said Oosthuizen of his appreciation for the sweet sciences greatest practitioners. Its a good thing to watch the history of boxing. He said Im a lot like Thomas Hearns from the outside, and when he saw how I fight on the inside, he said I was like Bob Foster, and its a complete package. Thats why Harold calls me The Package. I throw short, quick, combinations on the inside, stick on the outside and lure them into something. Bob Foster was a menace on the inside, the way he used the body shots and whipped those long punches out, he just enjoyed the sport of boxing.

Oosthuizen is having a pretty good time himself these days. 21-0-1 with 13 KOs, Tommy Gun is the current IBO champion at 168-pounds, and he will defend that title on Saturday in his HBO debut against fellow unbeaten Brandon Gonzales. Add in an affable personality and a crowd pleasing style, and there are plenty of people in this business who believe hes the next big thing in the division. Thats a long way to come in a little over five years as a pro, and like any other young fighter of 25, hes eager to get on with things against the elite of the division.

It (waiting) is very difficult because Im young and impatient, he laughs. And Ive been caught up in the hype a couple of times. People boost you the whole time and then you get a big head. But thank God Ive realized that I have to keep my feet firm on the ground and do what Im good at. And while its difficult to stay patient when youre hungry for the world, getting caught up in the hype is a bad thing. Staying patient and listening to Harold Volbrecht is where the experience comes from, and when Harold tells me something, I listen. Thats very important. I have no doubt in him, and he knows me. We have a six year relationship, I dont have more trainers than fights. I have more fights than trainers because Ive only had one trainer. And I trust in him. When he says left well go left, and whatever he says, well do. Harold teaches me the art of boxing and also what happens behind the scenes. We talk about everything moneywise, about personal lives, relationships. Harold advises me in everything, and I do listen to him.

The 56-year-old Volbrecht earned that kind of respect from those in his native country over the course of a 14 year career that saw him hold the South African title for years while challenging for the world crown twice albeit unsuccessfully against Pipino Cuevas and Mark Breland. He did end his career on a high note, going 8-0 with five KOs before retiring in 1989, and after sticking with the game as a trainer, he was the first choice for Charles Oosthuizen when his son wanted to turn pro.

I rate Harold as the best southpaw South Africas ever produced, and thats why my dad took me to him, recalled Thomas Oosthuizen. I told my dad at the age of 18 I wanted to turn professional, and he said okay, win the National games, and then when you turn professional, Im gonna take you to this guy. My dad comes from the same era as Harold Volbrecht. He took me to Harold and he left us to our business. To be honest, theres nobody better in South Africa, and I even compare him to world trainers. Hes one of the best in the world and without a doubt, having him in my corner is a big thing. I trust Harold with everything in the ring.

And its been so far so good for the duo, even with a bit of a layoff following his most recent win over Fulgencio Zuniga last November. So good that when Oosthuizen was in the midst of a 4-0 run last year, his sights started turning to the big guns at super middleweight, namely Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, and Arthur Abraham.

While I was very busy last year, we started looking at Froch, Ward, Kessler, Arthur Abraham, all of those guys, he said. And the important thing is, we can beat them. I know I can beat these guys without a doubt. Its just a matter of time and everything. Ive had the layoff, I dont believe it will affect me, I havent fought in a couple of months, but at the end of the day, prep is what its all about, and Ive prepped for this fight (with Gonzales), Ive worked hard, Ive trained hard and Im ready for this fight. And after this fight, were just gonna go further and were gonna get closer to those guys. Those guys have crowns that I want, and its just a matter of when, not if.

Bold words, but what fighter worth his salt doesnt have a healthy dose of confidence when hes 25 and unbeaten? But Oosthuizen isnt all talk. In fact, he plans on letting the world see that when he steps in front of the HBO cameras for an audition of sorts, considering that both Ward and Froch are fighters familiar with the HBO airwaves.

Its all about making them realize that when people start talking about you, then somebody will talk to them about me, he said. They would normally just say whos this kid? Hes a young kid on the block, he thinks hes Johnny Bravo, hes new in town, he thinks hes hard like a rock and invincible. And then once they meet me, theyll see that Im not the kid that thinks Im all that; Im the kid that works to be all that. And theyll see that Im the guy that fights to be all that. Ward is a scientifically sound boxer. Hes a big player, he makes the right moves, he uses his speed very well, and hes a big challenge. I do believe I can outbox Froch. Froch is all brute strength. Hes all brute strength and power and fitness. Theres no distinct style, nothing. Hes just very tough. Hes gonna come at you for 12 rounds with intensity. Kessler is more scientific, and Im not sure, but I think hes lost his edge. And Ive been training for these guys. When I turned pro, this is why Ive been training all these years to fight these guys. And I do believe given the opportunity to fight these guys, I will be prepared for every individual and I will be ready for every individual.

It all starts Saturday night, but as Tommy Gun points out, dont think youre looking at a finished product. Not yet.

I think I really made an impact on Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman, and also on (American promoter) Lou DiBella, but Harold always says you havent seen the best of Tommy, and I do believe the world has not seen the best of me yet, he said. Im still far away from showing the world who I really am.

Tags: Brandon Gonzales , Thomas Oosthuizen , Oosthuizen vs. Gonzales , Oosthuizen-Gonzales


 

 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by robust_, on 06-29-2013
[QUOTE=WeltshmerzKO]Couldn't agree more, been following him since the aaron pryor junior fight. He's got it all besides punching power but needs to stop being so ballsy in fights. he doesn't like to use defence at all, and although his chin amazes me he will take shots he could easily avoid. look...

comment by Dirk Diggler UK, on 06-28-2013
I hate this guy's name for some reason. I hope he fails so I don't have to listen to people saying his name

comment by Light_Speed, on 06-28-2013
I don't think he should have turned down the Froch fight but maybe his team felt he wasn't ready. He needs to get in the mix, he's got the tools to be a top super middleweight.

Tommy Gun/Bob Foster!!!
comment by jbpanama, on 06-28-2013
:smileysexGood name Recognition too...The Double D Cat makes sense regarding Fighting Tall, Bob Foster Hit so Hard, He got away with the Up Close and Personal stuff, but His Inside Punches, Short and Petrifying.....Looking Forward to seeing The Gun!!!

comment by WeltshmerzKO, on 06-28-2013
Couldn't agree more, been following him since the aaron pryor junior fight. He's got it all besides punching power but needs to stop being so ballsy in fights. he doesn't like to use defence at all, and although his chin amazes me he will take shots he could easily avoid. looking forward to seein...

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