Last Born in one for fans

Tete prom­ises sup­port­ers he will prove his box­ing pedi­gree in WBO ti­tle elim­i­na­tion bout in the UK

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

Zolani “Last Born” Tete is leav­ing for Le­ices­ter, Eng­land, on Fri­day with a prom­ise to his South African fans that he will make yet another mark in the UK. Last Born will slug it out with Filipino Arthur Vil­lanueva for the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) ban­tamweight ti­tle elim­i­na­tion at Le­ices­ter Arena on April 22.

The fight was orig­i­nally sched­uled for Manch­ester Arena in Manch­ester next Satur­day, but it has now been post­poned and moved to another venue due to lo­gis­ti­cal prob­lems.

The win­ner will have a crack at the WBO cham­pi­onship, which is cur­rently held by Mar­lon Ta­pales, who is also from the Philip­pines. Vil­lanueva, holder of the WBO Asia Pa­cific belt, is the num­ber one con­tender for the WBO cham­pi­onship belt, while Tete is ranked sec­ond. The win­ner will chal­lenge Ta­pales.

But Tete, who hails from Mdantsane in East Lon­don, is so up­beat about win­ning that he has al­ready made an un­der­tak­ing to his sup­port­ers that he will con­tinue to make a mark in the UK by win­ning.

Since sign­ing an agree­ment to fight un­der English pro­moter Frank War­ren’s Queens­bury Pro­mo­tions two years ago to box ex­clu­sively in Eng­land, Tete has in­gra­ti­ated him­self with his sup­port­ers by win­ning im­pres­sively.

He stopped Mex­i­can José San­tos Gon­za­lez in the sev­enth round for the va­cant In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IBF) in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship at Echo Arena in Liver­pool in March last year.

Tete con­tin­ued his im­pres­sive show­ing with another sev­enth-round stop­page over Vic­tor Ruiz, who is also from Mex­ico, at the same venue in June.

Now, Last Born be­lieves he owes it to his fol­low­ers to con­tinue his win­ning streak in the UK by knock­ing out Vil­lanueva.

“I’ve gained great ad­mi­ra­tion in Bri­tain for my show­ing there and owe it my fans to beat Vil­lanueva. I can’t wait to win and fight for the WBO ti­tle,” said Tete.

Last Born will be ac­com­pa­nied on his mis­sion by his man­ager Mlan­deli Tengim­fene, trainer Loy­iso Mtya and his dad Zo­lile.

“I’ve been in camp in Jo­han­nes­burg for six weeks pre­par­ing for this fight. I’m in great shape. The alti­tude in Manch­ester is the same as in Joburg and the fight will suit [me],” said Tete.

Tete comes in with a record of three de­feats and 24 wins in 27 bouts. Vil­lanueva is an ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner, who has only lost once in 31 bouts. He has had 16 vic­to­ries by way of the short route.

PHOTO: ALEX LIVESEY / GETTY IMAGES

CON­TACT SPORT Zolani Tete (right) in ac­tion against Vic­tor Ruiz while de­fend­ing his IBF in­ter­na­tional ban­tamweight ti­tle at Echo Arena in Liver­pool in the UK in June

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