Going into last night’s fight at the Roseland Ballroom, Tommy Oosthuizen was expected to steamroll an overmatched Rowland Bryant and look good while doing so. It was simply a fight that would allow the American public to see the greatness of Tommy Gun and set him on his way to fighting Carl Froch. On his way towards Carl Froch he goes, but without looking overly impressive.
The final scores of the fight, 118-110 117-11 117-111, would indicate that Oosthuizen’s 5th title defense was a complete washout and beat down of his opponent. But watching the fight you saw that Tommy won a lopsided decision, but he didn’t catch the eye of his audience like he hoped to.
To Oosthuizen’s defense, Bryant didn’t really give him that many chances to look spectacular. Bryant, a heavy puncher, sat and waited to throw right hand bombs all night and it forced Tommy to fight from a distance and work behind his jab. When I caught up with Oosthuizen’s promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions after the fight he summed up Oosthuizen’s performance by saying, “I think he did pretty well, I think he did what he had to do. He read the opponent right, he (Bryant) was looking for the big overhand right and he’s a big puncher.”
But as they say a win is a win, no matter what form it comes in. Here’s my round by round breakdown.
Round 1 began extremely slow. Oosthuizen set the tone the whole round, worked behind his jab and used the ring nicely to maintain his distance. When Bryant did close the gap Oosthuizen turned him and separated. Neither fighter was very active but Tommy led the action and landed the hardest punches of the round. Was mostly a feel out round for each. Oosthuizen wins the round 10-9
Round 2 started like the 1st finished. Oosthuizen keeping distance and not letting Bryant get to close to land anything significant. About a minute into the round Bryant landed his best punch thus far, an overhand right. He kept pressing Oosthuizen to get close to land something big. An even round turned Bryant’s way in the 2nd half of the round. Bryant was able to get inside, push Tommy back to the ropes and landed a nice combo; he added a left hook and a hard right down the stretch and won the round. There wasn’t much action but when there was it was Rowland leading and he won the round 10-9.
Round 3 was an Oosthuizen round. He was able to keep Bryant at bay for most of the round by using the ring and keeping his jab in his face. Another slow round was sealed for Oosthuizen by being more active, landing the best punches of the round, his left straight leads and ring generalship. 10-9 3rd for Oosthuizen.
The 4th started with Oosthuizen being more active. He threw a few combos when in close but for most of the round it was Oosthuizen jabbing from a distance and using his footwork. Bryant managed to land a few solid shots but nothing that hurt Oosthuizen or knocked him off track. 10-9 round for Tommy Gun.
Bryant started off the 5th aggressively and active. He didn’t give Oosthuizen a chance to get too far from him early on. But Oosthuizen ended up turning the tides and keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. The jab and a few solid lefts won the round for Oosthuizen 10-9.
6th was a better round for Bryant. It started off jabbing from afar for Oosthuizen but Bryant started to walk through the jab and kept the fight inside for majority of the round. He had Oosthuizen on the ropes quite a few times and put in some good work. There was one point where Bryant landed 4 solid right straights that really snapped back Tommy’s head and got a rise from the crowd. Bryant controlled the action winning the round 10-9
It was back to the game plan for Oosthuizen in the 7th. He was extremely active with his jab this round. He kept circling and keeping his jab out, whether it was weak or not it was still scoring. Bryant had one decent combo and a hard right at the bell and one after, but for the most part Oosthuizen kept the fight at his pace and his preferred distance and landing an occasional hard left. 10-9 round to Oosthuizen.
The 8th was an easy round to score in favor of Oosthuizen. Bryant stayed at the end of Tommy’s jab and didn’t really throw many punches. Oosthuizen used the ring well and kept snapping the jab, he also landed a couple nice body shots. Another round to Oosthuizen;10-9.
The 9th again was fought exactly how Oosthuizen wanted; Jab, jab, jab followed by a left hand. Bryant landed one solid punch the whole round, but besides that didn’t do much. Oosthuizen doubled and tripled up on the jab all round keeping Bryant away from him, staying in the middle of the ring; 10-9 Oosthuizen.
Round 10 was a replay of every other round that Oosthuizen won (which was almost every round). Bryant would try to get inside usually not being able to, but when he did he would land one or two punches and Oosthuizen would back out and get the jab going again. Bryant had his one moment in the round and then seemingly stopped fighting; 10-9 Oosthuizen.
It was the jab and footwork from Oosthuizen in the 11th that ended up winning him the round. Like most of the fight Bryant wasn’t nearly active enough. I don’t know if he liked getting jabbed in his face or if he couldn’t do anything to get away from it. Bryant would close the gap for a second land one or two then it was back to then it was back to the middle of the ring and all jabs followed by a left here and there from Oosthuizen. Tommy won the 11th 10-9
The 12th and final round Bryant decided to step the pace up a bit. Rowland landed a couple decent right hands. A few combos from Oosthuizen and working his jab from the distance was tale of this round. Bryant had a moment or two but not enough to steal the round. Oosthuizen 10-9
My final score was 118-110, 10 rounds to 2 for Oosthuizen.
There wasn’t a ton of action in this fight. Oosthuizen fought a smart fight, used his fundamentals well, being work the jab and use every inch of the ring to your advantage. He fought a very technical fight, which to his downfall is not a fan friendly fight. Bryant didn’t press the action enough. I think if he did he would have forced Tommy to open up more, to throw more hooks and uppercuts instead of just jabbing.
You can’t blame Oosthuizen for winning the fight how he did. It was one sided all fight, there was never a time where Bryant had Tommy in trouble or hurt. He stuck to the game plan and that’s what a trainer asks of his fighter. Being a lover of the sweet science I appreciated every minute of the fight. I like to see a boxer use the right tools, utilize his god given gifts and completely stymie his opponent’s plan of attack. I give Tommy a B+ for his performance.
Did Tommy gain many more fans in the U.S. this fight? I don’t know. But what I do know is that in America, the public likes winners and that’s what Tommy is, and win is what he did on Thursday night. In doing that, a chance to add another world title around his waist will be in the near future. ‘Tommy Gun’ will have plenty of opportunities to sweep the U.S. audience and international boxing community off their feet. What’s next for Oosthuizen you asked? “I’m going to sit with Lou (DiBella) and we’ll look at it now. It will be on ShoBox. Also we will really fight anybody to be candid with you. At this level of boxing if you happen to lose a good competitive fight it doesn’t affect your marketability, so we’re not really concerned but it has to make financial sense,” Oosthuizen’s promoter Berman said. Berman also confirmed the next fight will be in October.
Berman, DiBella, and Oosthuizen know there are going to be plenty of offers on the table. Whether the Froch fight happens now or not, Tommy Oosthuizen will have his time to imprint his stamp on the super middleweight division.