SOUTH AFRICAN superstar Zolani Tete, the former IBF world super-flyweight champion, will face menacing Mexican Jose Santos Gonzalez for the vacant IBF International bantamweight title in his eagerly anticipated return to the UK on Saturday March 12, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Tete, from Mdanstane in the Eastern Cape, is one of the most explosive punchers in the division with an incredible 18 knockouts in 22 wins – 12 of them coming inside the first round. The clinical southpaw is no stranger to facing Mexicans, having stopped Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr with a spectacular tenth round knockout in November 2013. The 27 year-old is promising his English fans another show-stopping performance on his return to the Liverpool Echo Arena.
“Jose is a strong fighter but he is standing in the way of bigger opportunities for me; he’s going to fall just like the others. I’m not preparing for a knockout but if the opportunity comes I’ll grab it with both hands. We all know those Mexicans are tough but I’ve already knocked one out so I believe this one can go too. If it goes the full 12 rounds I’m sure I will be victorious but he will be lucky if it passes the eight round,” said Tete.
He added: “I’m working harder than ever in the gym and I’m ready for this. I never underestimate my opponents. As always I need to be in top condition as we all know in boxing you either get fit or get knocked out.”
‘Last Born’ impressively announced himself on the world scene back in March last year with a devastating eighth round knockout of then unbeaten Ellesmere Port ace Paul Butler. His world-class performance left English fans mesmerised and demanding to see more. Tete is excited about returning to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs.
He said: “I can’t wait to fight in England again. I want to entertain the people and I’m going to give them a good fight. I know the English love their boxing so I’m keen to show off my talent; I’m going to beat the hell out of Jose.
“Last time out I didn’t really get a chance to take in the experience as I was the last bout. This time I’m going to really enjoy the atmosphere in the arena and greet as many Liverpudlians as I can. I want to sing with them when they cheer on Flanagan and Mathews; obviously I’m going to be backing Derry because he is my man!”
Touted as one of the best boxers to come out of Africa in recent years, Tete is determined to become a multi-weight world champion and believes Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren is the man to guide him to world titles.
He added, “I’m expecting big things in 2016. I’m hoping for another world title shot very soon. I’d like to get my hands on a super-flyweight or bantamweight world title. This year won’t end without me being a world champion again.”
Gonzalez, 25, has faced South African competition before, losing out to Mzuvukile Magwaca by unanimous decision when the pair fought it out for the vacant WBA International bantamweight title back in August last year. The gutsy Mexican, 22-3-0 (12), shares the same record as Tete and should provide a stern test.
Flanagan v Mathews headlines an action packed card that also features one of the world’s greatest boxers, Guillermo Rigondeaux, taking on Merseyside hero Jazza Dickens; another star of world boxing, dynamite punching South African Zolani Tete makes his return to Liverpool; Birmingham ace Tommy Langford defends his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight title against Lewis Taylor; hard-hitting Ellesmere Port’s star Paul Butler will challenge for a championship belt; Blackpool’s Matty Askin defends his English Cruiserweight title against Swindon’s Lawrence Bennett, plus Indian superstar Vijender Singh makes his Liverpool debut. The undercard features some of the best talent in Merseyside: undefeated leading world title contender Kevin Satchell; red-hot prospect Steven Lewis; European champion Ryan Farrag; Manchester prospects Macaulay McGowan and Zelfa Barrett and Leicester ace Lyon Woodstock complete the card.