By Mesuli Zifo
RARELY does Zolani Tete go to a fight with a brash attitude than he is doing right now ahead of his maiden WBO bantamweight title defence against little known compatriot Siboniso Gonya in Belfast, Northern Ireland on November 18.
Tete (25-3, 20 KOs) is an angry boxer going to this fight at SSE Arena due to a number of issues.
Firstly he has parted ways with long time chief trainer Loyiso Mtya, leaving the job to train him to assistants Mhikiza Myekeni -a former IBO flyweight champion and WBC title challenger- and Phumzile Matyhila who once held the SA bantamweight crown.
Secondly Tete is not happy that he has to fight his compatriot Gonya (11-1, 5 KOs) far away from home in a fight that will make a dubious history of being the first to feature two South African boxers in a foreign country.
“I really wanted to make the first defence of my title in front of my supporters,” Tete says.
But the 29-year-old could not get financial support from SA government.
Thirdly Tete’s house was broken into while he was busy away in camp preparing for the fight.
Household goods including television sets were taken.
Now all those setbacks have combined to light up a fire under his belly.
“I am knocking out Gonya inside five rounds,” Tete said before jetting off to Belfast.
“He is not on the same level with me and if he goes the distance I will consider myself as having lost the fight. He has to fall.”
Tete is one four champions in the bantamweight divisions with two other belts belonging to Irish Ryan Burnett who he hopes will be present at his fight.
Burnett added the WBA crown to his IBF title when he beat Zhanat Zhakiyanov at the same SSE Arena last month.
Other champions are WBC king Luis Nery with whom the Tete camp has already started negotiations for unification.
Jamie McDonnell hold the WBA regular belt which does not interest Tete that much.
“My goal is to get Burnett and hopefully after my destruction of Gonya, chances of getting him to bring those belts will be boosted,” he said.
If not he will have to wait for the outcome of Nery-Shinsuke Yamanaka’s WBC ordered rematch.
“Nery has already shown willingness to fight me so after his rematch with Yamanaka hopefully we will meet.”
Nery’s intentions to fight Tete were underlined by his choice to face Tete’s previous opponent Arthur Villanueva who he stopped in six rounds in a stay- busy bout last weekend.
To Tete that was the proof that the Mexican wanted to send him a message he is better than him.
“He knocked out Villanueva who took me to the distance so he must be thinking that he is better than me. That is fine with me.”