Two-weight world champion Zolani Tete put himself within sight of another world title shot as he knocked out Jason Cunningham in the fourth round of the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title fight on the Joyce-Hammer bill at Wembley.
It was a brutal finish as Tete seemed to knock Cunningham out cold, as he showered punches on him after he rose from a knockdown.
The South African had only boxed once since losing his WBO bantamweight title to John Riel Casimero in 2019, having earlier held the IBF super-flyweight title. But at 34 he still has plenty to offer and not many miles on the clock.
The defeat ended what had been a glorious Indian summer to Cunningham’s career. Having won British, Commonwealth and European titles, he wanted to test himself in world class but came up short.
For the first three rounds, Tete had controlled things with a sharp southpaw jab, while Cunningham struggled to land. But when Tete saw his chance at the start of the fourth round, he struck.
A chopping left hook sent Cunningham to the floor and, as he rose, Tete went straight in for the finish, landing a series of punches, which Cunningham unsuccessfully tried to evade. Referee Howard Foster waved it off just as the final punch landed, a big left that sent Cunningham heavily to the floor, where he lay motionless.
Paramedics rushed to Cunningham’s aid and he was back on his feet within four minutes. The end time was 34 seconds of the fourth.
As well as the Commonwealth title, the IBF and WBO international belts were also on the line.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.