Tete and Budler on brink of boxing fame and fortune

Zolani Tete is in the money-spinning World Boxing Series, which starts in September, while Hekkie "Hexecutioner" Budler could make history in Japan on Sunday. / Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Zolani Tete is in the money-spinning World Boxing Series, which starts in September, while Hekkie "Hexecutioner" Budler could make history in Japan on Sunday. / Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

South Africa is unnoticeably on par with countries whose boxers are competing at the highest level.

This is confirmed by the inclusion of WBO bantamweight champion Zolani "Last Born" Tete in the money-spinning bantamweight World Boxing Series, which features world champions from various countries.

Tete, from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, is in the roster which so far comprises Ryan Burnett, Naoya Inoue and Emmanuel Rodriguez.

Burnett, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, holds the WBA Super title, while Emmanuel, from Puerto Rico, is the IBF champion.

Inoue from Japan holds the WBO strap in the junior bantamweight division and will make his debut in the bantamweight class on May 25 against Jamie McDonnell.

Other five top names will still be confirmed in the roster for the pot of gold. The World Boxing Series starts in September. Last year's tournament purse was a reported $50-million (R 613-million).

Tete's opponent in the amateur ranks, Hekkie "Hexecutioner" Budler, is in Japan, where he stands on the brink of real fame and fortune. His historic bout, which involves three titles - the IBF, WBA Super and The Ring Magazine belts - against holder Ryoichi Taguchi on Sunday is a step towards rewriting history books in Africa.

Victory will make him the first South African boxer under the new SA Boxing Act of 2001 to win The Ring Magazine belt. Vic Toweel won it in the bantamweight division in 1950.

Budler, who won one of two amateur fights against Tete, has held the IBO and WBA mini flyweight and IBO junior flyweight titles. He is aware of the task ahead.

"Taguchi is very strong, bigger than me and he hits hard, but I am up for the task," said Budler before going to Japan with trainers Colin Nathan and Vusi Mtolo and cutman Bernie Pailman on Saturday.

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