“Promoter Rodney Berman is my friend,” Zacharius said at Golden Gloves’ pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday. “He is my good friend. So is Harold Volbrecht, who is training Oosthuizen, and Tommy as well and I love South Africa.
“But Saturday night is no time for love and friends. “We are here to do business and the business at hand is to beat Oosthuizen with what I predict will be a third-round knockout so that we can take the IBO title back to Argentina.”
More circumspect, but equally adamant was Oosthuizen, who warned “don’t cry for me Argentina”. “When the fight is over, Maderna’s manager will be reserving all his sympathy for his own boxer, because we’re going to do all our talking in the ring,” the South African said.
Oosthuizen added that he had what could prove a crucial advantage over his Argentinian opponent because he had been at the ringside in Monte Carlo earlier in the year when Maderna had lost his first ever fight in a 21-bout career against rugged Edwin Rodriquez.
“I know exactly what to expect from Maderna,” added Oosthuizen, the IBO champion. “I’ll be a closed book as far as he is concerned and he is going to be in for a few surprises.”
What is known of the 27-year-old Maderna, meanwhile, is that he is ranked 11th by the IBO, represented Argentina at the Olympic Games and earned the nickname of “El Olimpico”.
But although only losing on one occasion as a professional, he has never beaten an opponent ranked higher than 32nd in the world and has fought almost entirely against local boxers in Argentina.
IBO strawweight champion Hekkie Budler, seeking one of boxing’s more prestigious titles, will meet relatively untried Argentinian Hugo Verchelli in the second title bout on the Golden Gloves Promotion.
The winner of the Budler-Verchelli bout, according to promoter Rodney Berman, will be in line for a shot at the WBA title.
But while the 24-year-old Verchelli is rated ninth by the IBF, 10th by the WBC and 11th by the WBA, he is relatively untried in the lightest weight division in boxing’s firmament, having fought eight of his 12 fights against three little-known fellow Argentines.
Verchelli’s only defeat was against Elias David Coronet, whom he has beaten three times, while also securing two victories against both Fabian Hernan Claro and Fernando David Alaniz.
His only victory against a fighter ranked among the top 50 strawweights by the IBO was against another Argentinian, Daniel Mendoza. “The hardest fight of my career is always the next one,” Budler said.
“There is no chance I’ll be under-estimating Verchelli.” Budler’s trainer Colin Nathan echoed his fighter’s sentiments. “Our sources in Argentina tell us that Verchelli is a dangerous opponent who is improving with each fight and will be under-rated at our peril,” Nathan said.
“Also, you don’t get recognition from three bodies like the IBF, the WBC and the WBA for no good reason. “We are preparing for a dangerous opponent and taking no chance of slipping up before we get a chance of fighting for the WBA crown.”
Unlike Budler, who is now widely recognised as one of the top strawweights in the world, Oosthuizen needs to redeem himself against Maderna.
The fighter who is nicknamed “Tommy Gun” fired blanks in his last fight against Mexian-American Brandon Gonzales in the United States and most onlookers suggested he was lucky to receive a draw.