Tete set to be crowned WBO champion

Final Eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight Championship at the Leicester Arena on April 22, 2017 in Leicester, England.
Final Eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight Championship at the Leicester Arena on April 22, 2017 in Leicester, England.

South Africa is on the verge of producing a WBO champion. Zolani "Last Born" Tete claimed the vacant interim WBO bantamweight belt with a lopsided-points win over Arthur Villanueva at Leicester Arena in England on Saturday.

Their fight was the official elimination bout for the actual WBO bantamweight belt. But Marlon Tapales - who held that belt - forfeited it on Friday after failing to make the weight limit for his defence against Shohei Omori. The title was then declared vacant.

WBO president Paco Valcarcel said should Omori win, he will be crowned champion but a win for Tapales could see Tete boosted to full status by the end of the weekend.

Tete produced his top-drawer performance and dropped Villanueva in the 11th roundn the process. He was declared a winner by all three judges whose cards read 120-107 and 119-108 (twice).

"I said before my departure that I will fight until my hands break. I needed this one," an elated Tete said after his win. "I made a promise to myself when I started boxing that I would like to win all the belts from the top four: the WBO, the WBA, the WBC and the IBF.

"I've held the IBF belt, now I am on the verge of winning the WBO. The WBA and the WBC are also still to be won. I dedicate this win to my mother, and my former trainer Nick Durandt [who was killed in a motorbike accident on Friday]."

Tete vacated the IBF junior bantamweight belt because of the paltry purse money he was going to get for his mandatory defence against McJoe Arroyo in Puerto Rico.

Tete is rated No14 by the WBA and fifth by the WBC in the junior bantamweight class.

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