Last Born rel­ishes Jozi hide­out

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Zolani “Last Born” Tete is at peace as he works the punch­ing bag at Ur­ban War­rior Box­ing Gym in Park­more, north­ern Jo­han­nes­burg, this week.

This is the venue that the 28-year-old boxer, who hails from Mdantsane, has cho­sen as his se­cret hide­out away from his fren­zied East Lon­don home crowd.

He is hard at work, pre­par­ing for his bid for the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion’s (IBF) in­ter­na­tional su­per fly­weight ti­tle de­fence against an op­po­nent yet to be an­nounced.

The clash will take place on June 4 at Echo Arena in Liver­pool, Mersey­side.

Tete is cur­rently in camp in Gaut­eng with his three­mem­ber team, com­pris­ing trainer Loy­iso Mtya, con­di­tioner Phumzile Maty­ila and his dad, Zo­lile.

He be­lieves that he will ben­e­fit im­mensely by evad­ing his fans and fo­cus­ing fully on train­ing at the state-ofthe-art gym, owned by Les­ley Flavell.

The at­mos­phere in­side the build­ing, with only Tete and his en­tourage, is vi­brant.

As is the norm in gyms of this ilk, one side of the wall is dec­o­rated with pho­tos of box­ing cham­pi­ons, in­clud­ing Floyd May­weather.

“I have been us­ing these premises for four weeks now to pre­pare for this par­tic­u­lar fight and it has done my train­ing the world of good,” says Tete.

“It is con­ve­nient to work out in Jo­han­nes­burg be­cause I have peace of mind here – un­like in Mdantsane, where I am al­ways sur­rounded by fans.”

Not that he is try­ing to snub his fans, he is quick to add – but Last Born be­lieves that with the fight im­mi­nent, it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for him to con­cen­trate in East Lon­don as many of his sup­port­ers dis­tract him by com­ing to meet the south­paw at train­ing ses­sions.

Tete is go­ing through his paces us­ing the skip­ping ropes to build up his stamina, but pauses mo­men­tar­ily to ex­plain that Jozi’s al­ti­tude will stand him in good stead ahead of the bout.

“An­other ad­van­tage to train­ing here for the fight is the high al­ti­tude, which is sim­i­lar to that of Liver­pool and can only help me fight at my best,” he says.

While his Kaza­khstani ri­val has 18 knock­outs in 27 wins against a loss, the for­mer IBF cham­pion’s record re­flects 23 wins (19 by way of knock­out) and three de­feats from 26 pro­fes­sional fights.

Tete knocked out Jose San­tos Gon­za­lez at Echo Arena to win the ti­tle in March last year.

The boxer, now drip­ping with sweat from his in­tense train­ing regime, vows that he will win his up­com­ing fight con­vinc­ingly.

He has be­come quite a hit with English fans at Echo Arena, where his matches are pro­moted by Bri­ton Frank War­ren and have been graced by an en­thu­si­as­tic au­di­ence.

“I want to keep on win­ning there and fight for a ti­tle uni­fi­ca­tion one of these days.

“A knock­out win is the re­sult I am aim­ing for,” he says.

Mtya said their en­tourage would leave for Liver­pool on May 27.

“We have ba­si­cally done all our work here and are ready for the fight,” said Mtya.

“The Jo­han­nes­burg en­vi­ron­ment has worked in our favour. Tete will win by a knock­out.”

Tete’s man­ager, Mlan­deli Tengim­fene, said that, de­pend­ing on the out­come of his forth­com­ing bout, his charge would de­fend his crown suc­cess­fully un­til he earned a shot at the World Box­ing Coun­cil and The Ring mag­a­zine fly­weight di­adems, cur­rently held by Nicaraguan boxer Román González.

“González is re­garded as the best boxer pound for pound in the fly­weight. Tete will take him on,” he said.

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