Sat Jun 24 12:22:25 SAST 2017

Tough-talking Tete has his eye on the main prize

By Bongani Magasela | 2017-04-13 16:15:59.0

No one actually believes that Zolani "Last Born" Tete has psychic abilities but the boxer who punches like a trip hammer says he has seen the future.

The former undefeated IBF junior bantamweight holder has a date with Arthur "The King" Villanueva at Leicester Arena in England on April 22 but such is his confidence that he looking beyond the fight.

Tete - who vacated the IBF strap in 2015 due to a paltry purse money he was to be paid for his defence against McJoe Arroyo in Puerto Rico - has his eyes fixed firmly on the outcome of the WBO bantamweight championship fight between defending champion Marlon "Marauding Nightmare" Tapales and Japanese Shohei Omoni in Osaka on April 23.

It was announced last month that the winner between Tete and Villanueva - who are currently rated No 1 and 2‚ respectively - will face the victor of the scrap between Tapales and Shohei.

That fight is set to take place 90 days after Tete has fought Villanueva.

"I don't mean to undermine Villanueva (he has 30 wins and a loss) at all but the truth is I am already planning for the actual WBO title fight‚" said Tete‚ whose blossoming career is guided by English promoter Frank Warren.

"Villanueva is a very good boxer and I know that he also wants to fight for the WBO title but I just cannot afford to let him be the one to fight for it before me.

"I will fight until I break my arms.

"I never enjoyed all the Christmas festivities because I was in camp here in Johannesburg training for this fight which was supposed to have happened last week.

"I was already in the fighting mood‚ mentally and physically‚ actually ready to jump in the plane to England until the date was changed to April 22."

The fight was originally set to take place on April 8 at the same venue in England but postponed to April 22.

The reasons for the postponement were not given.

"All the sacrifices‚ the pain I went through in my eight weeks in camp‚ sparring with guys like Xolisani Ndongeni‚ Moruti Mthalane‚ Ludumo Lamati and Tshifiwa Munyai will pay dividends.

"I don’t care who wins between Tapales and Shohei - all I want is the title."

The tough-talking Tete warned Villanueva - whose only loss was a technical decision to Arroyo - and said his opponent will kiss the canvas for the first time in his career.

“He is going down.

"Villanueva will get a punishment second to none and he will be destroyed if he goes the distance with me.

"I intend to inflict severe harm quickly‚" said Tete.

Tete owns a savage right uppercut that impressed Warren so much when he saw the Eastern Cape fighter poleaxe English star Paul Butler in the eighth round in England in March 2015 that it earned him a contract with the glorified hall of famer. It also saw Tete win BSA’s 2016 Knockout of the Year award in Durban in January.

Warren is no stranger to South Africans as he has previously worked with a number of African fighters‚ including the late Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala‚ Thulani "Sugar Boy" Malinga‚ Namibian Harry 'The Terminator" Simon and Ghanaian Azumah "The Professor" Nelson.

His stunning win against Butler was Tete's first defence for the IBF junior bantamweight belt he won against Teiru Kinoshita in Japan in 2014.

A former WBF‚ WBO Africa flyweight and IBF International bantamweight holder‚ the South African boxer is trained by Loyiso Mtya and his father is Zolile Tete.

Zolani and his team will jet off to England on Saturday. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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