Former world champion Zolani Tete is planning to move up in weight, his manager Mlandeli Thengimfene confirmed to Sowetan Live.
Thengimfene indicated that Tete, in his next fight, will be competing in the super bantamweight division.
“One of the reasons for me to influence Zolani to move up the weight is that he is turning 33 this year and he has not fought for almost 18 months,” Themgimfene said.
In his last fight, in 2019, Tete was knocked out and lost the WBO bantamweight belt to John Riel Casimero in Birmingham,UK.
Afterwards, there were some claims that Tete was weight-drained from making the bantamweight limit and move in weight was necessary in the coming future. His handlers would have liked to see him make a two division jump due to weight struggles.
“I would have loved him to go straight to featherweight division. I am concerned about his age. I don’t want him to be bothered by cutting weight at 33,” said Thengimfene.
“With age a lot of things deteriorate and that includes your hand speed and reacting to situations. I spoke to Frank [Warren] about everything and he gave us his blessings. Actually Zolani will be back in action in April in the UK."
The manager cautions that his boxer will not stay at 122 for too long.
“Even at junior featherweight, we won’t stay there for long. I first want to build him there, win a world title and later move up to the featherweight division,” Thengimfene said.
"[Featherweight] is where Zolani’s future is. Many local boxers want to remain in one division forever even when they are getting older and that is not healthy.”
Besides the WBO title at 118-pounds, Tete (28-4, 21 KOs) also captured the IBF title at super flyweight in 2014.