Zolani Tete Targets IBF Crown With Kameda Vacating
By Mesuli Zifo
The camp of South African fighter Zolani Tete is relieved with the news of Daiki Kameda's decision to finally give up the IBF junior bantamweight crown even though it took longer than necessary.
Kameda announced that he was abdicating the throne confirming old reports that he was struggling to make the junior bantamweight division.
Tete earned a mandatory title challenge after upsetting favourite Juan Carlos Sanchez with a 10th round stoppage in Mexicali Baja California last November.
Tete's fight against Sanchez was initially announced as being for the vacant IBF crown after reports surfaced that Kameda was going to relinquish the crown.
However the 25-year-old Japanese accepted a unification clash with WBA champion Liberio Solis of Venezuela in Japan and the visitor scored a split decision win.
But due to IBF rules, Kameda hung on to his title despite the loss as Solis could not make the weight for the fight.
According to Tete's manager Mla Thengimfene, Kameda should have vacated the title long time ago.
“Tete and Sanchez would have fought for the vacant title and now Tete would be a champion if Kameda had not played these delaying tactics,” Thengimfene charged.
The 25-year-old Tete whose two losses in three defeats were highly debatable is waiting for the word from the IBF to inform him of his opponent for the vacant crown.
However word is he could face another Japanese Teiru Kinoshita who is rated third for the crown.
Interestingly Tete has been watching Kinoshita's tapes to prepare for him in the event of Kameda vacating.
“Like I said we knew that Kameda was going to give up the crown so we laid the groundwork by looking for the possible opponent for us and with Kinoshita rated second we suspected that the IBF might just choose him,” Thengimfene added.
Thengimfene said Tete would have no problem facing Kinoshita tomorrow as he knows his style like the back of his hand.
“We know that he is a fleet footed boxer who does not carry punch and is also a southpaw like Tete. Tete always beats other left handers so we confident that he would easily beat Kinoshita.”
Indeed the 28-year-old Kinoshita has scored just three stoppages in 20 fights with one draw compared to the South African who has iced 16 of his 18 victims with three losses.
Tete's promoter Branco Milenkovic says he will try to bring then fight to SA especially after the announcement by the country's national broadcaster of its decision to televise boxing fights again after a three-year blackout that saw local boxers defending their titles abroad.
“After what Tete went through in Mexico against Sanchez I think he deserves to fight at home and we will do our utmost best to realize that dream,” said Milenkovic who enjoyed a fruitful partnership with national broadcaster SABC when he produced a plethora of IBF champions before the blackout.
Milenkovic said he expected to get a clear direction about the vacant title from IBF this weekend.