Guns put away as fight is called off
The would-be mother-of-all-shootout between IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena and Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen will no longer take place, the former confirmed yesterday.
Lerena had promised in December that he was first going to deal with Kazakhstan-born German-based foe, Artur "Thunderman" Mann, at Emperors Palace on Saturday night and then later give Oosthuizen the chance.
"From my side you got the fight," he said in December. "I made a promise that I'll give him that money shot that he needs in June 2019. I will fight this fool in June. It will be the highest-earning fight between two South Africans for the IBO world title."
But Lerena told Sowetan yesterday during Golden Gloves conference at Emperors Palace where he met Artur for the first time that there are more bigger things in store for him such as the unification bout either in June of later in the year.
"Look, I can beat him [Oosthuizen] everyday of the week but right now I'm in the pinnacle of my career, so there is no reason to going backwards. I have Artur in my mind for now," said the left-handed champion, who will bid for the third defence of his belt in Golden Gloves "No Mercy" tournament.
The 25-year-old former SA, WBC Youth and WBA Pan African champion is rated No 11 by both the WBA and the IBF, and eighth by The Ring Magazine.
Lerena described the 28-year-old Mann, who is rated No 10 by the IBF, as credible opponent.
"He is undefeated in 15 fights, so I can't afford to overlook him. I must take care of business on Saturday and then begin at looking at what lies ahead of me, but Oosthuizen is definitely out of the picture."
Speaking through an interpreter, Mann, a Global Boxing Union Intercontinental and WBO International holder, said: "I would not be here if I did not believe that I will beat Kevin. It does not matter how, the important thing is the positive result."
The undercard for Saturday's tournament looks good indeed, with Boyd Allen and John Bopape mixing it for the vacant WBA Pan African middleweight title, while Bopape's stablemate at the Jersey Joe Gym of William Mabele in Alexandra, Gift Bholo taking on Germany's Timo Schwartzkopf over six rounds.
There will be four more bouts and action will begin at 7pm.