Tete’s still knockout favourite for clash
World champion not fazed by Aloyan fight in his native Russia
Zolani Tete kicks off his World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) campaign when he takes on Mikhail Aloyan in Russia on Saturday night.
The fight will also put Tete's WBO bantam weight title on the line, so it can be described as a voluntary defence.
While the fight will be held in Aloyan's backyard, Tete will enter the ring as favourite due to his wealth of experience which includes three world titles.
In fact, Tete is so confident of a win that he vowed to retire if he were to lose to Aloyan.
"If I lose to Aloyan I'm done with boxing," he said.
“Losing would mean that all along I was not good enough."
Should Tete go on and win the series he will cap a remarkable feat as at one stage he nearly quit boxing after a series of misfortunes, including suffering a minor heart attack under mysterious circumstances.
But he braved it all and bounced back when few people expected him to, by capturing the IBF title with a dominant win over Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita in his own backyard. In fact Tete has been some sort of a road warrior as he has built up the habit of beating opponents in their own backyard.
"I am no longer concerned to fight in my opponent's backyard," he said when asked if he would feel intimidated to face Aloyan in Russia.”
Tete knocked out Mexican Juan Carlos Sanchez in Mexico in a IBF title eliminator before heading to Japan to beat Kinoshita for the full title.
He again dusted off his passport and headed to England where he knocked out Paul Butler to retain the title.
Tete is the former IBF junior bantamweight king and also once held the WBF flyweight belt.
He is rated as the best bantamweight in the world by the respected Ring Magazine.
The magazine also picks him to win the series despite the overwhelming backing of Japanese Naoya Inoue who marked his own participation with a 70 seconds blowout of Juan Carlos Payano last weekend.
On the other hand, Aloyan is a green novice of just four fights winning half of them by split decisions – all in Nicaragua.
Despite the gulf in experience and achievements, Tete is not taking the Russian who like him is also 30 years old, lightly.
"I have been training for six weeks preparing for this fight, " he said.
"Indeed Aloyan is a novice compared to me but every boxer is dangerous when he enters the ring. Remember there is a lot at stake so he will also come prepared. Aloyan has nothing to lose but everything to gain and that makes him dangerous."
Another statistic the boxers share besides age, is the fact that they are both left-handers.
But Tete will tower over the Russian and that is another advantage he has going into the fight.
Tete has lost just three fights in 30 bouts, although only one of them can be considered legitimate.
He has iced 21 foes making him one of the hardest punchers in the lighter divisions.
Aloyan has never won a fight by a stoppage and that again tilts the scales in Tete’s favour, as Aloyan’s best chance is to win on points.
Again Tete is one such boxer who cannot be out boxed.
This means Tete has everything going for him in this clash and it will depend on which style he employs; the cautious approach or the aggressive, which saw him score the quickest knockout in a world championship bout when he blitzed Siboniso Gonya in 11 seconds.
Under these circumstances one can bet to Tete progressing to the the semifinals of the series.
I am no longer concerned to fight in my opponent's backyard. Aloyan has nothing to lose but everything to gain
BLOW BY BLOW: Zolani Tete unleashes a series of blows to Mexico's Olguin Ramirez Diuhl at the Orient Theatre. Tete fights Mikhail Aloyan in a World Boxing Super Series clash in Russia on Saturday