R612m carrot dangled in front of Eastern Cape-born Zolani Tete's face

14 May 2018 - 10:35 By Bongani Magasela
Zolani Tete during the Zolani Tete Media Open Day at Urban Warrior Boxing Gym on November 07, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Zolani Tete during the Zolani Tete Media Open Day at Urban Warrior Boxing Gym on November 07, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Eastern Cape-born WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete could be headed for the biggest payday of his life after he was included in the second installment of the money-spinning World Boxing Series that has a reported purse of US$50-million.

The highest purse Tete has ever received while defending his title is R1‚2-million and the series‚ which features IBF‚ WBA and WBO champions‚ affords him with a priceless opportunity that could change his life.

The 30-year-old boxer told TimesLIVE that there were difficult times in the past when he came close to giving up.

"I pray a living God‚" said the humble boxer from Mdantsane‚ Eastern Cape.

"You know‚ there were times in my life where things were not going well and I actually concluded that I would not make it in boxing.

"I asked lots of questions such as 'why me?'

"But the God of Gods has shown me that those times when I was losing my fights was the journey he was taking me through‚ preparing me for what was to come in future.

"That day has come."

Tete is the reigning WBO champion‚ Emmanuel Rodriquez from Puerto Rico holds the IBF title with Ryan Burnett from Belfast ruling the division as the WBA Super champion.

The fourth champion to feature in the line-up is Naoya Inoue from Japan and he holds the WBO strap‚ but in the junior bantamweight division.

Inoue will make his bantamweight debut on May 25 against Jamie McDonnell‚ and the Japanese star must come out on top to gain entrance into the money-spinning series.

It has been announced that five more boxers will be added to the roster at a later stage.

Boxing SA CEO Tsholofelo Leajaka applauded Tete and said the boxer's inclusion in the series was an acknowledgement of the talent in South Africa and on the continent at large.

"We believe it could not have come in a better time because it falls directly in line with Zolani's long pronounced ambition of unifying the division‚" he said.

"We also believe that he is equal to the task and that this is an opportunity that Africa and South Africa has long been waiting for."

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