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Tommy Oosthuizen Vows To Beat Down Ryno Liebenberg

Tommy Oosthuizen intends trashing Ryno Liebenberg when they fight in March next year.

"I'm no criminal, but it could be murder," Oosthuizen said on Wednesday when the tournament at Emperors Palace on March 21 was launched at SuperSport's headquarters in Johannesburg.

The two South Africans will meet in a bout for the IBO light-heavyweight title.

Oosthuizen, a former IBO super-middleweight champion, took the opportunity to explain his recent long absence from the ring.

"Yes, I did go overboard partying and such-like but the boo boys were on my back in no time and started to berate me and call me a criminal. The only person I was hurting was myself," he said.

"But I've learnt a lesson. I am now training harder and showing more dedication to my boxing than ever. Liebenberg is going to feel the consequences of coming up against a fighter who will be better than ever."

Liebenberg was unimpressed. He challenged Oosthuizen to settle the issue there and then, physically harassing him at a photo session before officials had to pull the two apart.

Also getting into the act was Oosthuizen's trainer and former SA champion Harold Volbrecht, who threatened to "knock Liebenberg's block off myself" if he carried on with his antics.

"It's no secret that Oosthuizen and Liebenberg have long wanted to get into the same ring together," said Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman.

Oosthuizen recently returned to boxing and retained his unbeaten record with what was at best a lukewarm victory over Russian journeyman Denis Grachev.

"It's the fight I’ve been waiting for to prove a point for a couple of years," Liebenberg said of their grudge match. "Let's get on with the business and rock and roll."

ARMY OF LOYAL SUPPORTERS

Berman said both boxers had an army of loyal supporters. "They have been clamouring for this fight. I have not put it on previously because their careers were heading in different directions.

“But circumstances have changed and it's time to bring them together and settle the argument. Both need a victory to put their careers back on track."

Liebenberg, after his recent defeat against the formidable Eleider Alaverez in Monte Carlo, is eager to show he still has what it takes to be a world champion.

"I used to believe that Tommy would have too much skill for Ryno," said Berman. “But he was all over the place for much of his fight against Grachev. If Liebenberg lands as many blows as Grachev did, it could be all over. Ryno, for sure, punches a lot harder than the Russian.

"Tommy has all the skills in the world, but he let himself down against Grachev after his long lay-off. I don't know what he was thinking fighting at close range when he would have been better off fighting from the outside with his height and reach advantage."

Berman said he would attend the upcoming WBC convention and would lobby for the winner of the bout between Oosthuizen and Liebenberg to be given a shot at the title held by Adonis Stevenson.

Oosthuizen and Liebenberg are sixth and 21st on the IBO rankings list but not among the top ten of any of the other leading organisations.

Johnny Muller and Kevin Lerena will also clash again on March 21 after their all-action, crowd-pleasing performance at Emperors Palace last month. Muller bounced back from a disappointing defeat in Monte Carlo with a points victory.

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