Tete beats odds to win

MDANTSANE boxer Zolani Tete scored the biggest win of his professional career when he stopped highly touted Mexican superstar Juan Carlos Sanchez in 10 rounds to earn the right to challenge for the IBF world junior bantamweight title.

Tete turned the trick at the Auditorio del Estado, Mexicali, Baja California, in Mexico yesterday morning (SA time) against all the odds when everything favoured the local fighter in a tournament which was promoted by his promotions company Zanfer Promotions.

Tete dropped Sanchez hard in the fifth round but the Mexican returned the favour when he floored Tete in the following round of a see-saw battle.

With both combatants fighting from a southpaw stance, it was left to who was the bigger puncher as they rocked each other as the rounds progressed.

Tete upped the tempo in the 10th round when a straight left put Sanchez down forcing the fight to be waved off.

Tete who is considered to be a bit soft to be a boxer, confounded the critics in the best possible way as visiting boxers hardly ever win in Mexico.

The victory was even sweeter considering Sanchez is the former IBF champion and only lost the title when he forfeited the belt after being unable to make the weight in his successful title defence against Argentine Robert Sosa who earned the shot by beating Tete in a highly debatable verdict.

With his corner manned by novice trainer Mhikiza Myekeni with his manager Mlandeli Thengimfene assisting as a bucket man, the South African trio never allowed that to deter them in their quest to make history in Mexico.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch after the historic win, Thengimfene highlighted the unfavourable conditions to which they were subjected before the fight.

“It was such a difficult trip and everything was just against us,” he said from Mexico.

“But thanks to our promoter Branco Milenkovic who made sure our stay in Mexico was as conducive as possible, we managed to achieve our mission.”

Milenkovic was excatic with the news that his belief in Tete had paid off.

“It is not easy to win in Mexico but I had the utmost faith in Zolani that he would do it and I am so glad he confounded the critics,” Milenkovic said.

“I congratulate Mhikiza and Mla for the sterling job they did in the corner when most people did not give them a chance due to their inexperience at world title level.”

By beating Sanchez who came to the fight having lost only once in 19 bouts with a draw, Tete has now earned the right to challenge the winner of the WBA/IBF junior bantamweight unification clash between Japanese Daiki Kameda and Venezuelan Liborio Solis who are fighting tomorrow in Japan.

Tete failed twice in IBF title eliminators going down to Alberto Rosas in Mexico in controversial circumstances before losing to Sosa in another disputed verdict.

But this time he vowed to return triumphant adding he had learnt how to fight in Mexico.

And his win over the 22-year-old Sanchez proved his predictions were not misplaced.

The win was his 18th with an impressive 16 stoppages in 21 bouts.

He and his handlers are expected to land back home tomorrow.

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