No love lost ahead of ‘Top Gun’ boxing tournament

There was no love lost at the pre-fight medical ahead of the “Top Guns” boxing tournament at Emperors Palace this weekend.

Proceedings at the venue on Tuesday saw the fighters involved on the bill take verbal jabs at one another as the pressure starts to mount ahead of the contests on the weekend.

The headline bout sees Tommy Oosthuizen make a return to action after a year on the sidelines when he takes on Denis Grachev, a Russian who fights out of San Diego, for the WBC international light-heavyweight title.

Oosthuizen hasn’t been in action since defending his IBO super-middleweight title against Ezequeil Maderna at the same venue in November last year but his conditioner, Harold Volbrecht, is confident that his charge is ready.

“Tommy is in the best condition he’s been in for a long long time. He’s been in the weight limit for three weeks. He’s so serious about this fight and he wants to look good,” Volbrecht said of his charge who has yet to lose in 24 bouts as a professional.

“Grachev is a fantastic fighter, he’s very strong but I just feel that Tommy has got too much hand speed and he’s a very scientific.

“He’s too clever for most of these fighters around. I have no problem in predicting that Tommy will outpoint him,” Volbrecht said as he weighed on their opposition and a possible outcome.

There’s a local battle brewing when unbeaten southpaw Kevin Lerena steps in to the ring to take on Johnny Muller in a non-title cruiserweight scrap scheduled for 10 rounds while Ali Funeka gets another chance at a world title when he meets Roman Belaev of Russia for the vacant IBO welterweight title.

“I’ve been in boxing for many years. I got the opportunities to fight guys like Nate Campbell and Joan Guzman,” Funeka said as he touched on the opponents who prevented him from a world title in his two attempts so far.

“Now I’ve got a chance to fight for the IBO title. I’m ready. We’ve been working hard. I’m going to win, no matter how, I’m going to win,” the 36-year-old who has a professional record of 35-4-3 said.

The first bout on the card sees Thabang Ramagole take on Mbulelo Nxazonke in a junior-flyweight contest over eight rounds.

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