Zolani to unleash fists of fury in US
World champ to train with Mayweather club ahead of unification bout
One of the country’s biggest sporting moments will begin on Saturday when reigning world boxing champion Zolani Tete leaves for the US to wrap up preparations for his historic title unification clash that will take place on April 27.
Tete will join the famed boxing gymnasium Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, after hiring legendary trainer Floyd Mayweather snr to help him prepare for his WBO, WBA and WBC Diamond belt bantamweight unification clash against US-based Filipino Nonito Donaire at Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The fight will also serve as the semifinal clash of the World Boxing Super Series, with the winner set to advance to the finals against the victor of the other clash, between IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez and WBA regular Naoya Inoue.
Tete’s fight will mark the first time a SA boxer contests for three major world title belts in one bout.
Should the 30-year-old win, he will become one of the greatest sporting icons produced in the country.
“Zolani knows the magnitude of this fight, hence he wants to leave no stone unturned,” said the boxer’s manager Mla Tengimfene.
Tete will depart with his team consisting of Tengimfene, chief trainer Loyiso Mtya and assistant Phumzile Matyhila.
On Monday the team took a day off from its preparations to finalise visa applications.
Tete has been itching to rope in Mayweather snr to shore up his preparations, believing the father of boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather jnr will maximise his technical prowess.
“Zolani wants to be in that environment of being trained by Mayweather snr, for both his psychological and technical readiness,” Tengimfene said, when asked why the boxer was hell bent to be trained by the US trainer.
Tete will also look to shore up his defence, specifically focusing on neutralising Donaire’s renowned left hook.
“Yes, we know about Donaire’s left hook, and it is one of the aspects we have been working on in training. But now we want an expert to help us also.”
Since the date of the fight was announced, Tete has been installed as an underdog, with the Filipino tipped to advance to the finals against Inoue.
That has infuriated the Mdantsane boxer, causing him to push himself to the hilt as he prepares for this bout during training sessions.
Donaire already holds the psychological advantage, having beaten three SA boxers already. But Tete has vowed to stem the tide and make the “Filipino Flash” pay for beating his compatriots.
“It is now or never for Zolani, and I have never seen the spirit he is displaying in training. He is spitting fire.”
The Tete team will spend three weeks under Mayweather snr’s tutelage, before departing for the fight venue on April 21.
It will be the first time Tete fights in the US, with the bout set to be streamed live by streaming giant DAZN...