It is only a matter of hours before Wanganui-born boxer Robert "the Butcher" Berridge steps into the ring for the biggest, and tallest, challenge of his six-year career.

The southpaw slugger (26-2-1, 21 KO) will fight South Africa's IBO world light-heavyweight champion Thomas Oosthuizen (24-0-2, 14KO) on his home ground of Emperors Palace in Gauteng, just outside the city of Johannesburg.

Berridge and his entourage, including Wanganui cousin Paul Berridge, arrived in the Highveld early last Sunday.

Paul Berridge said they had managed to shake off the jet lag in a couple of days.


"[Promotor] Rodney [Berman] and his crew are treating us well - we have a driver who can take us wherever we wish," he said.

"We have been able to use a small gym room in the hotel, as the one the promotor got for us is 45 minutes away.

"Robert is feeling very strong , and he is nervous and excited at the same time.

"This is a great opportunity.

"Plus we as Team Butcher have achieved this all on our own, we no longer have big promoters to help us so [manager] Vasco Kovacevic has been working hard.

"So we all hope you guys tune in on Sunday morning."

Nonetheless, after taking the fight at short notice, Berridge is the underdog against the towering South African, who is ranked No6 in the world by the WBC and WBA.

"We've watched a video or two of him.

"He's a world champion for that reason," Robert Berridge said at the press conference during in the week.

Although he did not predict victory, the 30-year-old Kiwi promised he would bring it to his 27-year-old opponent.

"I believe it's going to be a good fight," Berridge said.

"I'll walk in a straight line and just take the fight to him.

"He's not going to have to travel anywhere to find me.

"I'm going to be in the middle of the ring, standing there, exchanging punches," the New Zealander said.

The Berridge group have also trained around the city, while spending time with a class of Glenharvie school children on a visit to the Johannesburg Zoo.

As seen in Facebook videos, Robert Berridge has been sparring with American trainer "Caesar" Barry Robinson, who will be in his corner for the fight to give technical advice - a component that was missing in the devastating loss to Russian Vasily Lepikhin in August.

Robinson is taller than Berridge, much like the 1.93m Oosthuizen, who enjoys a massive 20cm height and reach advantage over the 1.73m "Butcher".

They have been clearly focusing on Berridge's head and feet movement to get underneath the long jab and then score with counterpunches to the body.

Robinson told media last week in Auckland he did not want Berridge winging shots at Oosthuizen's head in the early rounds, but instead setting up those opportunities for later by wearing him out with body shots.

The card will start tomorrow about 5.30am New Zealand time, with the main event set for about 7.30am.

The pay website is offering the fight on live stream.