By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Filipino Richard Garcia has lost a twelve round unanimous decision to southpaw Zolani Tete of South Africa in an IBF flyweight title eliminator at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg.
All three judges had Tete the winner by a lopsided margin with two judges scoring the fight 118-110 and the third judge 118-108.
The 21 year old Tete, nicknamed “The Last Born” headlined a promotion of well-known and multi-titled South African “Promoter of the Year” Branco Milenkovic and earned the right to face Moruti Mthalane who once gave IBF/IBO flyweight champion Nonito "Th Filipino Flash" Donaire a few problems in a title clash but eventually lost by a sixth round TKO.
By all accounts the title eliminator wasn’t a terribly exciting bout but the win was considered big for Tete who was facing a tough, 24 year old challenger from the Philippines who, as a result of the loss dropped to 20-10-1 with 5 knockouts. Tete improved to 13-0 with 11 knockouts.
Tete had won his last three fights all by first round stoppages but Garcia proved too durable for the South African who on March 29, 2009 scored a stunning first round knockout over former Filipino world title challenger Rexon Flores in just 28 seconds of the opening round.
Tete is trained by South Africa’s legendary boxer Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu who said they had “trained very hard for this fight and we are not taking any chances against Garcia because we want Zolani to be a champion by the end of the year.”
On the eve of the fight Milenkovic said the fans should expect a good fight because Garcia is a tough customer and “as you know fighters from the Philippines always give a good fight.”
The popular promoter noted that Garcia also wanted the right to challenge Mthalane for the world title but said he believed Tete would win and that “losing was not an option.”