Tommy O, seen here after Johnson win, likes a Froch fight, and said he'd be happy to go meet Adonis Stevenson in Canada, as well.
If all goes well, if all goes as the fighter and his team, including his promoter Lou DiBella, thinks it will, in about a year, or less, most fight fans will be able to pronounce the funky last name of the man who headlines Thursday's Broadway Boxing event at Roseland in New York City.
The name is "Oosthuizen," and for the record, it is pronounced "Ewwst-hazen."
The super middleweight believes firmly that we will get ample chance to master that pronunciation when he gets gigs on HBO and Showtime; first, he must get past Floridian Rowland Bryant, who junked up the plans of Librado Andrade, scoring a TKO3 win over the Al Haymon client in Texas on April 21.
I chatted with Tommy O (19-0-1 with 13 KOs; draw came against Isaac Chilemba in November 2010) at a Wednesday press conference, at Jack Demsey's in NYC. The fighter, at 6-4, has a solid arsenal. He uses his height and reach to good effect, has fast hands, moves enough to help him avoid punishment, mixes up his punches smartly, and has some nastiness in him, which makes him look to close the show. He didn't stop 21-1 Marcus Johnson in his last outing, on April 27 in Miami, Oklahoma, but he did impress the ShoBox crew which ran the scrap. They liked his total package, for sure.
Speaking of packages, after this fight, Tommy O has some more work to do. He will fly back to Johannesburg Saturday, pick up an engagement ring to give to fiancee Lindi Kinghorn, and then head to the wedding of his brother, where he will be best man. Hey, before you scorch me, Tommy told me that the plan is no secret to Lindi, so please don't get mad at me, thinking she is probably a Sweet Science reader, and I screwed up his romantic plan. No, the couple, who have known each other since grade school, have purchased a home together. On Saturday night, after the wedding, Tommy O will pop the question to Lindi.
"So, you have to win this fight, then? You can't pop the question coming off a loss," I said.
Tommy's face hardened when I went there. He leaned back in his chair, like he was getting the right amount of distance to deliver a one-two on me. "I don't fight to lose," he answered.
His demeanor stayed a bit stiff for a spell after that. When I asked if he and trainer Harold Volbrecht, a former pro (1975-1989), known as the best lefty pug from South Africa, who lost step-up fights to Pipino Cuevas, Nino Larocca and Mark Breland, had seen tape of Bryant, he said he watched the Andrade fight.
"And how do you see this fight going?" I asked.
"He's gonna lose, in great fashion," the fighter said, curtly.
Tommy O, ranked as high as No. 4 by the IBF, says he is well aware what the people want, that they crave the finality of KOs. "They want explosive aggression," he said. "Boxing is an art, and I want to paint a beautiful picture." Moving forward, he's keen on perhaps using Carl Froch as his canvas.
My take: right now, this guy I think can hang with any of the top tier super middles. His chin will allow him to stay in there when he meets A grade scrappers. Tommy O would be comfortable letting IBF champ Froch come to him, and that would be a good clash of styles.
Note: If you aren't going to Roseland, if you live in certain regions, you can watch this main event, and two other bouts, on FIGHT NOW TV, billed as America's only 24-hour combat sports and entertainment channel. FIGHT NOW TV is available on Cablevision channel 464 as part of the iO Sports & Entertainment Pak, and also on a Ustream powered broadband player to all markets, though that is subject to certain blackout restrictions. It will set you back a mere $4.95, which I applaud hugely. Within a year or so, I expect every card of note, and some not of note, to be available for the world to watch.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV