Johannesburg - Zolani Last Born Tete will not enjoy the Christmas holidays with his family because he will be preparing for his crucial World Boxing Organisation (WBO) bantamweight title elimination fight.
Last Born (28) told City Press a few days ago that he would be working out at the Urban Warriors boxing gym in Sandton, Joburg.
He is scheduled to fight Filipino Arthur Villanueva in the UK on January 28. A win against him will pave the way for Tete to challenge Marlon Tapales, who is also from the Philippines, for the WBO championship.
The Mdantsane-based former International Boxing Federation (IBF) kingpin is expected to be in Joburg this week with his trainer Loyiso Mtya to start shaping up for the bout. He will spend the next eight weeks training there.
He will be accompanied at the workout in later weeks by his father Zolile; Mhikiza Meyekeni, the former International Boxing Organisation junior flyweight kingpin and Phumzile Matyila, the former World Boxing Council international bantamweight champion.
“I will have a bleak Christmas,” he said.
“I usually take my family to the beach in East London every year to enjoy the festive holidays, but this won’t happen this time around as I will be at the gym throughout the festive season.”
But Last Born emphasised that the fight against Villanueva, who holds the WBO Asia Pacific belt, meant a lot to him.
“The match will pave the way for me to fight Tapales,” he said.
“Villanueva is a tough customer and I have to beat him to get an opportunity to challenge his countryman Tapales for the crown. Maybe in February.”
Last Born, whose promoter is Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions, put on a sterling show by beating Mexican Victor Ruiz on a seventh-round technical knockout at Echo Arena in Liverpool in June.
Previously, he held the IBF bantamweight division title.