Bunce Diaries | Issue | Premium | Dec 02 2019

The Bunce Diaries: Zolani Tete vows to come back

From wheelchairs to the horror of defeat via some ultimate boxers trying to scrape a living. Another week on the boxing beat
Zolani Tete
Action Images/Reuters/Peter Cziborra

TAKING honest testimony from boxers is not always a fun way to spend a day or night and standing lonely guard inside Zolani Tete’s dressing room at midnight last Saturday was always going to be tough.

When the sobbing had stopped, when the bulky and comforting arms of his team had released him, he stepped forward for one more embrace; Tete is a decent man and I have worked on a lot of his fights. “It’s boxing,” he told me. “No excuses, but I will be back.” There was a startling red rim to his eyes, which were both sad and wet with tears, and there was the undeniable sound of despair in his broken voice. We could all hear Sean Gibbons – the globe-trotting fight fixer – leading the celebrations for John Riel Casimero through the flimsy walls. “He [Casimero] had a great win tonight – I will have a great win next time.” That awful room was a tear-for-tear top three and you need a hot shower after you push for an interview like that.

John Riel Casimero vs Zolani Tete
Action Images/Reuters/Peter Cziborra

A few days before the 330-minute live televised show from Birmingham, featuring Tete and three British title fights, a few hundred people gathered for history in Cannock at Bar Sport. The main attraction was England v Scotland but Scott Welch, a survivor of a world heavyweight title fight on the coldest night in Tennessee history, arrived in town with his wheelchair warriors. A man would box a woman.


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