IN A sport as competitive and highly skilled as boxing, winning bouts while being flamboyant and effective is normally the best way to achieving world acclaim.
That cannot be said for Zolani Tete, though, as the WBO bantamweight champion is finding it hard to find challengers.
Following his clinical display against fellow South African Siboniso Gonya, when he dropped him to the canvas in six seconds, winning the fight in 11 seconds, challengers are starting to run scared.
Even Irishman Ryan Burnett, who Tete challenged in his home town of Belfast, Ireland has not yet responded to Tete’s challenge.
Burnett is the WBA/IBF bantamweight champion.
“I promised that I will remain a world champion and that is what I did. The punch comes from the hard work we doin the gym. Ryan Barnett did not show up there (in Belfast). He is scared. My promoter Frank Warren said he will talk with his people,” Tete said.
“Hopefully something will happen in March next year. I doubt that Ryan will want to come on board after this knockout. Ryan will run away. I have the belt, any challenger must come to me. And hopefully my next fight will be in South Africa.”
The man who is most frustrated by lack of challengers for Tete is his manager, Mla Tengimfene, who understands why Tete has boxers running scared.
But Tengimfene said that there may be something worth pursuing in Mexico and Argentina, even though that may mean Tete will continue to fight away from home.
“Let’s go for Luis Nery from Mexico. He is the WBC champion and he is prepared to fight us. We will fight him at any time. There is also Omar Narvaez from Argentina. He is a great champion. He is No1 on the WBO ranking and a former world champion,” Tengimfene said.
“It is very difficult for opponents to come to fight Zolani. He has power. He is a southpaw. Very awkward for a southpaw and very tall for the division. “It is not easy. If we cannot fight anyone else, we will go for Guillermo Rigondeaux. But the promoter Frank Warren has made an offer to Barnett in Belfast. He wants Barnett and no one else. Zolani will be fighting in Belfast.”
Boxing South Africa chairperson Ntambi Ravele hailed Tete’s record-breaking knockout after the fight as exemplary and absolute professional and said she hopes other young boxers will follow his example.