WBC Diamond belt up for grabs in fight between Zolani Tete and Nonito Donaire
South African to meet Filipino legend in semifinals of World Boxing Super bantam Series in the US
The day SA fight fans have been waiting for has finally arrived after German promoter Kalle Sauerland announced that SA star Zolani “Last Born” Tete and Filipino legend Nonito Donaire will meet in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super bantam Series (WBSS).
While Sauerland is yet to confirm the venue‚ the contest is set to take place in the US on April 27.
Tete holds the WBO belt while Donaire is the WBA Super champion.
The winner will take on the victor between Japanese IBF holder Naoya Inoue and Puerto Rico WBA titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez‚ whose clash will take place in Glasgow‚ Scotland‚ on May 18.
The overall winner of the WBSS will become the undisputed bantamweight champion and will be richly rewarded.
The champion will also be awarded the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy. It was also announced that the winner between Tete and Donaire would be presented with the WBC Diamond belt.
Tete‚ 30‚ from Mdantsane is trained at home by Loyiso Mtya and Mihikiza Myekeni.
The left-hander‚ a former IBF junior bantamweight undefeated champion‚ made it clear last week that he was looking past Donaire and his focus was on the final where he hoped to meet Naoya.
‘‘My fight with Donaire is more than getting into the finals of the WBSS and the Muhammad Ali Trophy‚” Tete said.
‘‘It is a fight that I will be fighting for myself‚ my country and my countrymen Moruti Mthalane and Simpiwe Vetyeka.
‘‘I will not rule out Jeffrey Mathebula but Donaire’s fights against Moruti and Vetyeka are the ones that make me very angry because he did not win fairly against them.”
Mthalane lost to Donaire in an IBF flyweight title fight via a fifth round stoppage at MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 2008. A laceration inside Mthalane’s eye brought the fight to an end. But it was Donaire who alerted the referee to the injury at a time when Mthalane was taking the fight to him.
Donaire then broke Mathebula’s jaw in their IBF and WBO unification bout in 2012. Mathebula held the IBF strap while Donaire was the WBO holder.
Donaire also ended the reign of Vetyeka as the WBA Super featherweight champion under mysterious circumstances in 2014. They clashed heads three times in each of the first three rounds. Donaire was unable to continue after the third incident in round three due to a cut he sustained.
The fight was stopped and the verdict was a technical decision in favour of Donaire who won by 49-46 points from all three judges. It remained a mystery as to how judges reached 40 because the bout ended in the third round.
Tete made clear that Donaire’s trick will not work against him.
‘‘That is why I intend to do real harm on him and go on to do the same to Naoya‚” said Tete who is rooting for the Japanese to beat Rodriguez. ‘I have nothing against Rodriguez but I want Naoya to win because my victory against him will make the world sit back and take note of my capability.”
Donaire returned to the bantamweight division for the first time since 2011 and upset defending WBA Super champion Ryan Burnett on November 3 in Glasgow‚ when Burnett was injured in the fourth round.
Tete retained his belt with a points win over Mikhail Aloyan on October 13 in Ekaterinburg‚ Russia.
While Tete has 21 knockouts in 28 wins against three losses‚ 36-year-old Donaire who has held multiple world titles in four weight divisions‚ has knocked out 25 of his 39 victims with five losses.
Donaire was quoted saying: ‘‘WBSS has set up such a great opportunity for me to achieve what I’ve always wanted and that’s to be undisputed champion.
‘‘Since the last fight‚ I took just a couple weeks off and came right back to the gym. Tete is a formidable opponent and we have been preparing since the last fight. I’m even more excited with it being in the US and won’t waste the opportunity to show the crowd what we’ve been working on.”