Brothers to make history

The Tete brothers – Zolani and Makazole – will share an international bill for the first time ever when they feature in a tournament at the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on February 10.

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Zolani Tete, left, celebrates with victorious older brother Makazole after one of his fights. Next month the brothers will fight in a tournament for the first time together abroad in the United Kingdom Picture: ALAN EASON

Zolani will be defending his WBO world bantamweight crown against Argentinean veteran Omar Narvaez while Makazole’s opponent is yet to be decided. It will be the third time the siblings appear together in one tournament but they have never featured in an international event before.

Makazole has returned to All Winners Club where his more illustrious sibling trains under the management of Mla Tengimfene. The older Tete, who is considered the more talented of the two, went through a rough patch under his previous management, failing to win the IBO title from Gideon Buthelezi amid other below-par performances, belying his talent.

This included entering fights in poor physical condition until he was released by Xaba Promotions and Events, paving the way to rejoin Tengimfene’s management team.

Last month he knocked out overmatched Tanzanian Selemani Bangaiza in two rounds in a performance that showed glimpses of his past form.

Tengimfene said he negotiated with English promoter Frank Warren who promotes Zolani to include Makazole in the tournament.

“Makazole wants to hit the ground running hence we negotiated for him to appear. It will be the first time the Tete brothers fight in one tournament abroad and they are both excited by the historic occasion.”

Zolani is still hogging the headlines after breaking a record for the fastest knockout in a world title bout when he knocked out KwaZulu-Natal boxer Siboniso Gonya in 11 seconds in Northern Ireland two months ago.

This stupendous feat persuaded Warren to top the tournament with him for the first time since Tete signed with the Englishman two years ago. Makazole understands that he will be under pressure to perform like his sibling who is already well known in England.

“Makazole knows that he will be under the spotlight when he fights in the same tournament as Zolani because of Zolani’s world-class credentials,” Tengimfene said.

“This can either break or make him because a good performance will open the doors for him while a below par showing will subject him to ridicule.”

Makazole has previously disappointed when a lot was expected of him but Tengimfene says that was the old Makazole.

“I wish you can see this boy. He leads us with training – something that never happened before.”

Indeed while Makazole leads a clean life he has been accused of bunking training sessions, contrary to the Spartan life ethic possessed by his younger brother.

But now at 30 years of age, he knows that time is not on his side especially as his fight record of two losses –the other being a near tragic second-round knockout by Filipino Jonas Sultan – in 21 bouts still looks glossy.