Mchunu marching on with new opponent

Latvia’s Ricards Bolotniks has taken the call to fight Thabiso Mchunu.

Tommy Oosthuizen’s ongoing legal battles have forced Golden Gloves to finally pull him from his proposed June 23 fight against Thabiso Mchunu.

Despite having wanted to help “Tommy Gun” get back on his feet, promoter Rodney Berman said that there were too many obstacles, not least a court date set down for next week.

Berman has subsequently signed Ricards Bolotniks of Latvia to meet Mchunu, which is a crossroads fight for the South African. A win will reignite the southpaw’s ambitions; a loss will be catastrophic given how his career has stuttered in recent years.

Bolotniks (11-4-1) comes with good form. He recently scored a stoppage win over Alejandro Emilio Valori and before that lost a hotly-disputed split decision to 24-1 Micki Nielsen on the Oleksandr Usyk-Mairis Briedis Super Series undercard.

“He’s a tough, smart fighter who will present problems,” assured fight agent Alex Kuznetsov.

The Latvian fighter can’t wait for the showdown.

“I have a serious attitude, a good opportunity to show myself at the world level,” said Bolotniks from Riga. “I saw his fight versus Usyk.  He is a good fighter, high level, tough and fast, but I count only on winning.”

Asked what the Nielsen fight taught him, Bolotniks said it confirmed his belief that he belongs at elite level.

His only expectations of travelling to SA are that “it’s hot” and he’s looking forward to a “good, tough” fight.

Mchunu is desperate to get back in the mix, especially after a sub-par performance in his last fight, against Constantin Bejenaru. He possesses outstanding skills and defensive smarts but has a habit of going walkabout when the pressure is on, a habit that has cost him dearly in fights against Usyk and Junior Makabu.

When he’s on song, however, he is a joy to watch, the boxing clinic he gave Johnny Muller last year being a case in point.

WBC International champion Thulane Mbenge is also on the bill with a top-rate opponent to be announced in coming weeks.