'Generous' Zolani Tete will give his SA opponent four rounds
World boxing champion Zolani Tete said he would be generous to challenger Siboniso Gonya and give him four rounds before knocking him out next weekend.
The duo will deliver a sad historical mark in Belfast‚ Northern Ireland‚ on Saturday night (18 November) when they become the first South Africans to fight for a world title outside the borders of this country.
East London-based Tete‚ making the first defence of the WBO bantamweight crown he was awarded in April‚ said he had seen video footage of two of his opponent’s fights.
“I didn’t see much of him‚ but I think he’s not ready for me.
“Because he’s South African I’m going to give him four [rounds]‚” he said with a smile after a public work-out at a Johannesburg gym on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m being generous‚ I’m being kind‚” added Tete‚ who has been in camp at trainer Colin Nathan’s gym for the past few weeks.
He insisted he wasn’t underestimating Gonya.
“I always take my opponent very seriously‚ especially if he’s rated in the world rankings.
“I take nothing away from him‚ he’s one of the best fighters‚ he didn’t buy that rating — he fought for it and he won it‚” said Tete‚ who is contracted to one of Britain’s top promoters‚ Frank Warren.
“But unfortunately he’s not going to take my title away ... I’m going to knock him out.”
After taking care of business Tete wants a unification against WBA/IBF champion Ryan Burnett‚ a Belfast native.
If that fight happens‚ it will almost surely be abroad‚ but this defence Tete had wanted to do in front of his home fans.
“When I was announced as the world champion‚ I wanted to make my first defence here in South Africa. It has always been my wish when I become a world champion — I must defend here at home before I go outside the country.
“But this is the second time this is not happening.”
After Tete won the IBF junior-bantamweight title in 2014 he made the first — and only — defence in England‚ before vacating the belt in a fight over money.
The day after the fight is the SA Sports Awards where Tete is a nominee in the Sports Star category‚ going up against track and field world champs Wayde van Niekerk‚ Caster Semenya and Luvo Manyonga and Sundowns star Percy Tau.