All roads lead to Emperors Palace on March 21 when Tommy Oosthuizen and crosstown rival Ryno Liebenberg do battle.
For months, the two have waged a war of words.
In March, their differences will be settled in the ring when Tommy Oosthuizen and Ryno Liebenberg meet in what is certain to be a SA super fight at Emperors Palace.
Both are elite-level boxers, Oosthuizen a former IBO super-middleweight champion and Liebenberg a highly-regarded light-heavyweight.
The fight has percolated for around two years and finally promoter Rodney Berman has relented to a match-up the fans have long demanded.
Oosthuizen shook off the ring rust from a year’s inactivity on Saturday when he beat Denis Grachev of Russia in a middling performance that would have given Liebenberg encouragement.
Said Berman: “I long believed Tommy would have too much skill against Ryno, but Tommy was all over the place on Saturday. If Ryno catches him with the sort of shots Grachev landed, it will be over. Ryno hits far harder than Grachev.
“Tommy has all the skill in the world, but he let himself down against Grachev. I don’t know what he was thinking trying to keep it inside when he’s such a good fighter on the outside. It’s a hard fight and certainly not the walkover some people believe it will be.”
Liebenberg recently lost his unbeaten record to Eleider Alvarez, who stopped him on cuts last month.
The two boxers couldn’t be more different in style and attitude. Oosthuizen is a freakishly talented boxer with a devil-may-care approach to boxing and a wild life beyond the ring.
Liebenberg is less talented, but his grit and heart have taken him far. Nothing has come easy for him and he fights every fight as if it’s his last.
Added Berman: “It’s no secret that these two have long wanted to fight each other. I initially held off because they were going in separate directions, but circumstances have changed and it’s the right time to make the fight. Ryno needs a good performance to bounce back from Monte Carlo and Tommy could benefit by waging a war with his big rival for local bragging rights.”
Berman also took great heart from the performance of Johnny Muller and Kevin Lerena, who staged a mini-classic. Muller produced arguably the most complete performance of his career in dominating the unbeaten Lerena, who himself stood up to some wicked hitting and often gave as good as he got.
The pair will feature in the next major tournament at Emperors Palace on March 21.