New champ Tete set to defend IBF crown

2014-07-27 15:00

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Negotiations are afoot for Zolani Tete to defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) superflyweight title in October.

This follows a sensational display in which the Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, boxer registered a unanimous points decision victory over Teiru Kinoshita in Kobe, Japan, last Friday.

All three judges – from SA, the US and Japan – awarded the points to Tete, who was clearly on top of his game despite fighting before a partisan crowd.

According to promoter Branco Milenkovic, the boxer would make his next defence, hopefully, outside the country.

“We are busy negotiating with two promoters, one from Europe and the other from Asia to have

our guy have his next defence before the end of the year,” said Milenkovic.

“Obviously, we have to get the best deal for the boxer, seeing that he’s the only IBF champion in the country at the moment.”

Tete and Hekkie Budler, who holds the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organisation strawweight belts, are currently the country’s only two legitimate world champions.

Milenkovic believes this does not bode well for the country, which at one stage boasted a wealth of IBF champions.

There were five IBF kingpins three years ago – Mzonke Fana (junior lightweight), Moruti Mthalane (flyweight), Nkosinathi Joyi (mini-flyweight), Jeff Mathebula (junior featherweight) and Noni Tenge (welterweight).

Tenge was the country’s only woman world champion.

Milenkovic blames the recurring TV blackout for the sorry state of affairs in boxing in the country.

“We’d like Tete to defend his crown outside SA, seeing there is a TV blackout?...?The current rand/dollar exchange rate?...?makes it difficult for promoters to stage the fight here,” said Milenkovic.

Tete was over the moon at being crowned the new world kingpin.

“I am happy to win the title away from home. Everything went according to our game plan at training. I stuck to my trainer Mhikiza Myekeni’s instructions and we won before a foreign crowd,” said Tete.

He said he was looking forward to a successful defence.

Tete, whose professional record now reads three defeats in 21 fights, said he would resume training this week.

He was still celebrating his IBF crown with his Eastern Cape home fans.

Milenkovic told the Mail?&?Guardian that with the IBF title under his belt, Tete would be in great demand.

According to him, it was a “real shame” that Tete would not be able to defend his title in front of his home fans.

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