Johannesburg - South African boxers Hekkie Budler and Tommy Oosthuizen
retained their IBO titles in contrasting fashion against Argentinian opponents
at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.
Budler, with his hair dyed a striking sea blue, resembled a rock group
member rather than a boxer while outclassing an innocuous Hugo Verchelli in a
one-sided, fourth round TKO victory.
Referee Stan Christodoulou stopped the one-sided minimum weight proceedings
after the over-matched Verchelli had been floored on three occasions in the
Oosthuizen, in contrast, ended his points victory over an articulate,
professional Ezequiel Maderna with his face rather than his hair battered
black-and-blue. He also sported a raw, bloodied cut on the top of his nose
arousing fears that the fight could be stopped by the ring doctor and his super
middleweight title snatched from his grasp as a consequence.
Despite this, a game Oosthuizen proved his grit and courage by edging out
Maderna over 12 closely-contested rounds in which the points victory of the
South African was by no means a foregone conclusion.
Indeed one of the three judges had the fight as a 114-114 points draw and
this seemed a more realistic assessment than that of the two other judges who
had Oosthuizen winning by four and five points respectively.
In an absorbing, at times drama-filled contest that never reached great
heights, Oosthuizen fought for more than half the fight with blood oozing from
the cut on his nose following two crunching punches in quick succession from
The South African, ironically, showed more life and endeavour under this
handicap when he was stung into action following three tepid rounds at the
outset and he may well have been feeling the effects of his battle to make the
required super-middleweight limit.
Oosthuizen retained his unbeaten record in which he has drawn twice - one of
them a lucky decision in his previous fight against Mexican-American Brandon
And a fresh assessment might appear to be needed on which direction his
future in the ring should now take.
Maderna, a medallist at the Olympic Games during his amateur career which
has earned him the nickname of "El Olympico", has now lost two of his
22 bouts, but he made a good impression with his thoughtful repertoire in what
was undoubtedly the fight of the night as far as entertainment value was
Apart from retaining his minimum weight title, Budler also won the
vaguely-described WBA interim title and he is now likely to seek more
prestigious honours than that of being the IBO champion.