Tete re­fuses to lose fo­cus af­ter bur­glary

CityPress - - Sport -

Tete will vol­un­tar­ily put his World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) ban­tamweight crown on the line against fel­low South African Si­bon­iso Gonya at the SSE Arena in Belfast, North­ern Ire­land, on Satur­day.

The king­pin from the East­ern Cape, who three weeks ago set up a train­ing camp at Ur­ban Box­ing Gym in Sand­ton, Jo­han­nes­burg, was dealt a blow af­ter his home in Mdantsane, East London, was bro­ken into last week­end.

Tete said thieves bur­gled it while he was in Gaut­eng pre­par­ing for the big show­down. They stole a plasma TV worth R20 000, a de­coder, a pair of train­ing shoes and other house­hold goods.

“Those thugs ob­vi­ously cap­i­talised on my ab­sence from home,” said Tete.

“This is a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, but I won’t al­low it to dampen my spir­its. My fo­cus right now is on win­ning the fight.”

Last Born is tak­ing his up­com­ing bout se­ri­ously and demon­strated his skills to the me­dia ahead of his de­par­ture for the UK yes­ter­day.

Tete was pre­vi­ously sup­posed to have put his ti­tle on the line against KwaZu­luNatal-born Gonya at the Sisa Dukashe Sta­dium in Mdantsane. How­ever, it could not take place in Tete’s back­yard af­ter the East­ern Cape sport depart­ment failed to se­cure funds to stage the fight, de­spite hav­ing promised to do so.

Tete’s Bri­tish pro­moter Frank War­ren of Queens­berry Pro­mo­tions stepped in to stage the bout in the UK.

Watch­ing him dur­ing a gru­elling work­out at a me­dia open day, it was ev­i­dent that Tete is in the best shape of his ca­reer.

Trainers Mhik­iza Myekeni and Phumzile Maty­ila put him through his paces, and both will man his cor­ner dur­ing the bout. The duo will re­place head men­tor Loy­iso Mtya, who has parted ways with the pugilist.

Myekeni was in Last Born’s cor­ner when he won the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion su­per fly­weight crown af­ter beat­ing Ja­panese Teiru Ki­noshita by a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion in Kobe, Ja­pan, in 2014.

Tete is so con­fi­dent of win­ning that he says he is ded­i­cat­ing his vic­tory to his ail­ing mother, Nomonde.

“She is very much sup­port­ive of my box­ing ca­reer. I wish she could have ac­com­pa­nied me abroad for this par­tic­u­lar fight. But she is very sick at the mo­ment and be­ing cared for at home by my dad.”

Tete has been nom­i­nated for a sport star of the year award at the SA Sports Awards, which will take place at Em­per­ors Palace tonight. Other nom­i­nees are ath­let­ics su­per­stars Caster Se­menya, Wayde van Niek­erk and Luvo Many­onga, as well as Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sun­downs for­ward Percy Tau. Tete (29) is the first boxer to be nom­i­nated for the award.

“It has al­ways been a dream to have my name men­tioned along­side top ath­letes in the coun­try. It’s a big thing to have a boxer nom­i­nated in the sports awards,” Tete said.

He is an ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner with 28 fights (25 wins and three de­feats), while Gonya has 11 vic­to­ries and one loss from 12 pro­fes­sional starts.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to re­tain­ing my ti­tle and prov­ing that I’m the coun­try’s best boxer,” Tete said.

Gonya, the current WBO in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal cham­pion, is con­fi­dent that a new WBO cham­pion will be crowned.

“I have trained very hard for this fight and am de­ter­mined to cause an up­set. Win­ning in front of UK fans is what I want to achieve.”

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