Tete takes IBF crown in Japan

SOUTH Africa has a second major world champion after Mdantsane boxer Zolani Tete won a lopsided points decision over Japanese Teiru Kinoshita to take the vacant IBF junior- bantamweight crown at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan yesterday.

Tete, from NU12 Mdantsane, totally dominated the fight despite facing a boxer who had never tasted defeat in 20 bouts.

The scores of the judges, 119-109 and 118-110 twice, told the story of the local southpaw’s dominance despite fighting in Kinoshita’s region, where he works as a floor manager at the same hotel that hosted the fight.

No details of the fight were available but according to Tete’s manager, Mla Tengimfene, the Mdantsane hero was never in danger of losing. “We attacked from the beginning and by the middle rounds he tried to turn the fight around but Zolani was equal to the task as he refused to give away any rounds,” he said.

By winning the fight Tete finally came of age at 25 years old after failing to win the flyweight version of the title when he was stopped by Moruti Mthalane when he was still a novice.

It was the crowing moment for the patient boxer who had to endure two controversial decisions on the road before stopping Mexican Juan Carlos Sanchez in 10 rounds in Mexico in the eliminator last November.

Tengimfene said the boxer was determined not to let the country down on a special day for the country.

“Even before we came here Tete was so confident of winning the title for the late Madiba and there was nothing that could have stopped him from achieving the feat.”

Talking about the massive victory, Tete’s promoter Branco Milenkovic said he was vindicated for agreeing to let Tete to go to Japan for the fight.

“I know many people doubted my decision but I was confident that Tete could win a decision in Japan because that country is not notorious for biased decisions against visiting boxers,” he said.

Milenkovic added that as Tete entered the fight as the bigger puncher of the two, having stopped 16 of his 18 victims, he expected him to knock out Kinoshita.

“But I am glad he won on points because he proved that he is not just a knockout artist but a good boxer as well.

“The mere fact that even the Japanese judge scored the fight in Tete’s favour by 118-110 underlines his dominance of the fight.”

No plan has been made regarding Tete’s next fight, as Milenkovic said he wanted his charge to savour the victory and celebrate before planning his next move.

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