By Keith Idec
First-round knockouts in world title fights are rare.
What Zolani Tete accomplished Saturday night was unprecedented. The WBO bantamweight champion’s one-punch, 11-second knockout of Siboniso Gonya was the quickest in boxing history in a world title fight.
According to a story posted to the website of London’s Daily Mirror on Sunday, South Africa’s Tete broke the record of 17 seconds set by retired two-division champion Daniel Jimenez. Puerto Rico’s Jimenez needed just 17 seconds to knock out previously unbeaten Harald Grier in their scheduled 12-round fight for the WBO bantamweight title in September 1994 in Domplatz, Austria.
South Africa’s Gonya (11-2, 5 KOs) hadn’t been knocked out, either, before Tete (26-3, 21 KOs) quickly unloaded a short right hook that knocked Gonya unconscious on the Carl Frampton-Horacio Garcia undercard at SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Referee Phil Edwards began to count before realizing Gonya, who was flat on his back, had been knocked out cold.
Medical personnel tended to Gonya for more than five minutes before the disoriented contender was able to reach his feet.
As brutal and stunning as Tete’s knockout was Saturday night, it was not the fastest knockout of the 29-year-old champion’s career. On BoxRec.com, the strong southpaw is credited with a 10-second knockout of Xolile Ngemntu (then 9-7-2) in a scheduled six-round fight 11 years ago in London.
Tete, a big bantamweight at 5-feet-9, has recorded 13 of his 21 knockouts in the first round, though mostly against average opposition or worse.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.