Boxing SA aware of the impact a Tete win in London may have for the sport in SA
Boxing South Africa chief executive Tsholo Lejaka said the time for South African boxers to swim with the sharks has arrived.
Zolani “Last Born” Tete's WBO lightweight eliminator against Arthur Villanueva in London on April 22 could prove to be the game breaker for local boxing as Tete has not fought in South Africa for more than two years.
Lejaka is aware of the impact a Tete win may have for South African boxing‚ especially from a financial perspective.
“We need to look at the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight and the purse strings attached there‚" Lejaka said.
"There was $150 million while the belt alone was $1.5 million. That is where we must go‚ where the big activities are at and where the high rewards are.
"While I'm glad to see Tete fight‚ it also pains me to see a licensee go and fight outside of the country for less than 10 000 euros‚” Lejaka said.
“That puts pressure on you when you're a world champion when you play among the dolphins. You must play with the big sharks and I'm glad Zolani is taking this route towards the WBO title.”
Trainer Loyiso Mtya was on hand to watch Tete go through his paces as the Mdantsane-born boxer approaches the crucible in his career.
Should Tete win‚ he will force a mandatory 90-day title defence from current WBO lightweight title holder Terry Flanagan.
Mtya is aware of the ramifications of a Tete victory but he is not looking too far ahead of the fight. After Tete's controversial IBF title loss to Paul Butler‚ Mtya is not taking anything for granted.
“We are ready and all we need to do now is to keep him consistent with what he's going to be doing once the gong goes. It's too late to be trying new things because he knows his strategy and he knows his opponent's strengths and weaknesses.
"We know what we're working on and yes‚ we are ready for the fight‚” Mtya said.
“If you are not ready for disruptions‚ then you're not ready for the fight. The only time you know you're ready for the fight is when you walk to the ring.
"If fights are postponed or extended‚ you've got to readjust the training in all aspects. Tete is not under pressure unless he puts himself under pressure. This is a fight like any other fight.” - TMG Digital/TMG Sport