Zolani Tete puts his 'brother Moruti' before sparring
True love for both his country and compatriots is paramount to WBO bantamweight boxing champion Zolani "Last Born" Tete.
Tete silently displayed compassion and humanity by delaying his trip to Las Vegas in the US where he was to get sparring from Muhammad Waseem, the Pakistani who is trained in Las Vegas by Jeff Mayweather.
Waseem will oppose Tete's countryman Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane for the vacant IBF flyweight title in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday. SuperSport will broadcast the fight live.
"The arrangement was that I fly out to the Mayweather Gym because Jeff Mayweather had offered to assist us with sparring. I was to spar with Waseem.
"So we decided to wait until the fight on Sunday is over," said Tete yesterday.
"I did not want to go there while Waseem was still preparing to fight Moruti because there is no way they were not going to ask me about Moruti. Now I would have sold out my brother. Our country needs all the world titles on offer.
"Remember there was a point where we had 20 world champions when [trainer] Nick Durandt was still alive. I believe Moruti will make us proud. I wish him good luck."
Interestingly Jackie "Pressure Cooker" Gunguluza, a former SA featherweight champion from Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, accepted an invite for sparring from the camp of Naseem "Prince" Hamed who was preparing to defend his WBO featherweight belt against Vunyani "The Beast" Bungu.
Hamed knocked out Gunguluza's homeboy Bungu in the fourth round in the UK in 2000. It was alleged that Gunguluza got paid handsomely for his job.
Said Tete: "Moruti and myself are friends. He helps me with sparring when I prepare for fights.
"Even if it was not Moruti fighting Waseem, still I would not have gone over there before the fight."
Tete said that despite being 35 years old, Mthalane is still the same ferocious puncher he has always been.
"It is amazing, and that is why I am confident that SA will produce another world champion on Sunday," he said.