Tommy Oosthuizen was overweight at Friday’s weigh-in. Fittingly, he’ll lose some weight when he gets his purse. It will be 30 percent lighter thanks to his indiscipline.
He will also be minus his IBO championship belt, which was automatically forfeited after he weighed in 500g over the light-heavyweight limit at Emperors Palace for his bout against Robert Berridge.
It’s yet another stain against Oosthuizen’s name, which has been pock-marked by such controversy in recent years. Claims that he’s turned over a new leaf are thus best taken with a large dollop of salt.
Promoter Rodney Berman was livid: “Tommy has let everyone down yet again. It’s very disappointing. What I fail to understand is that nobody had the decency to come and tell us there was an issue. We had to find out when he was on the scales.”
Berman will also feel it in his own pocket given that he had to pay a six-figure sum to the IBO for sanctioning the fight, plus airfares for three overseas officials.
Trainer Harold Volbrecht is another victim – his takings will be minus 30 percent too thanks to Oosthuizen’s reckless attitude.
If losing his championship belt wasn’t enough, Oosthuizen must also suffer the indignity of being knocked down the fight card at Emperors Palace. The Johnny Muller-Mateusz Masternak fight has been elevated to main event with Xolisani Ndongeni’s 12-rounder against Mzonke Fana becoming the chief undercard bout.
“It’s still a great show,” said Berman, who said he understood Berridge’s anger at the turn of events.
The New Zealander was furious and threatened to pull out if Oosthuizen didn’t make the weight. He pleaded for him to make an effort, but, Oosthuizen being Oosthuizen, it was a shout in the dark.
As per the rules, the title will remain vacant if Oosthuizen wins on Saturday. However, if Berridge prevails, he will carry home the IBO belt.
Oosthuizen’s shocker has long-term ramifications too. Berman had lined him up a championship fight for Monte Carlo in November, but that too has been squandered by the fighter’s inability to stay on the straight and narrow.
He may well win tomorrow night, but the suspicion is that he may have finally blown for good his chances for super-stardom.