Zolani Tete fixes his eye on stardom

Zolani Tete forces Omar Andres Narvaez to defend in a fight in Belfast.
Zolani Tete forces Omar Andres Narvaez to defend in a fight in Belfast.
Image: Getty Images/David Fitzgerald

The golden opportunity presented by German promoter Kalle Sauerland to WBO bantamweight champion Zolani "Last Born" Tete to participate in the multimillion-rand World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) has afforded SA's 2017 Boxer of the Year the first step towards becoming the undisputed world champion.

Sauerland is the brainchild behind the WBSS. He featured Tete, WBA Super holder Ryan Burnett, IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez and WBA titlist Naoya Inoue in the three-legged tournament.

Burnett, from Belfast in Northern Ireland, will fight Nonito Donaire of the Philippines on November 3, while Puerto Rican Rodriguez will face Australian Jason Maloney. Inoue from Japan knocked out Carlos Payano of the Dominican Republic in 70 seconds last weekend to progress to the semifinals.

The overall winner next year will take home the inaugural Muhammad Ali trophy. Tete will fight Mikhail Aloyan in Russia on Sunday. Tete boasts 21 knockouts in 27 wins against three losses. He should be too good for the Russian who has only four wins.

"Mikhail is up for severe punishment. I can't let him stand in my way. His time will come but definitely not now and not at my expense," said Tete. "Inoue might be the guy to give me a tough fight."

Tete is rated No2, a spot behind Inoue, by The Ring Magazine which is described as the Bible of Boxing.

Tete's manager, Mlandeli Tengimfene, said: "This is the best time at Zolani's prime to be involved in such a great journey of [him] becoming the undisputed bantamweight champion. Zolani will bring his A-game."

Meanwhile, Thembelani Nxoshe will fight Mexican Ulises Lara for the vacant WBC International junior bantamweight title at Mdantsane Indoor Centre tonight.

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