Tete plots Freedom Day titles feast

World boxing champ Zolani Tete carries his daughter Lawula at East London Airport on Tuesday. With them is his manager Mlandeli Tengimfene. They’ve left for the US.
World boxing champ Zolani Tete carries his daughter Lawula at East London Airport on Tuesday. With them is his manager Mlandeli Tengimfene. They’ve left for the US.
Image: SIBONGILE NGALWA

While SA will be celebrating Freedom Day on April 27, the country’s boxing star Zolani “Last Born” Tete will be aiming at rewriting local boxing history by becoming the second boxer from SA to hold two of the top four world sanctioning bodies’ belts.

The first is Brian “The Road Warrior” Mitchell. He won the WBA junior-lightweight belt in 1986 and added the IBF diadem in 1991. Mitchell retired in 1995 undefeated as the dual world champion.

Tete holds the WBO bantamweight belt, which will be on the line in the unification bout with WBA Super holder Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire in the US on April 27. This bout at the Cajundome in Lafayette is a semifinal of the bantamweight World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) that is organised by German promoter Kalle Saureland.

The newly crowned dual world champion will face the victor of the second semifinal between WBA champ Inoue Naoya of Japan and IBF titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, on May 18.

The overall winner of the WBSS will be crowned as the undisputed world bantamweight champion with four belts and will also take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Tete has previously held the IBF junior-bantamweight belt, while Donaire is a former multiple world champion in four weight classes.

Tete , who was trained at home in Mdantsane by Loyiso Mtya and Phumzile Matyhila before joining American Floyd Mayweather snr in Las Vegas, said: “It feels great and motivational that I will be fighting on the big day in the history of our country.

“I will also be making my history, so there is a lot at stake for me.”

Asked what he thought of the 36-year-old Donaire, the 31-year-old Tete said he’s raring to go.

“He does not scare me at all although I also don’t undermine him at all,” Tete said.

Regarding joining Mayweather snr, who did wonders with his son Floyd Mayweather jnr, Tete said: “Mayweather will bring the aggression part. I also expect him to tighten up my defence.

“He’s got his own fans, so walking alongside him will also help me in that regard.”

Tete last fought in October when he defeated Mikhail Aloyan in the quarterfinal of the WBSS in Germany, while Donaire beat Ryan Burnett in the second quarterfinal in Glasgow in November.

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