Johannesburg - Zolani “Last Born” Tete will have to be paid a substantial amount if his proposed voluntary World Boxing Organisation (WBO) bantamweight title defence against fellow South African Siboniso “Tiger” Gonya is to get off the ground.
This is the view of Tete’s manager, Mlandeli Tengimfene, after negotiations with Gonya’s camp to have the boxers trade blows soon. Gonya is based in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal.
Tete, arguably the country’s hottest boxer to emerge from East London in the Eastern Cape in recent times, is still basking in the glory of winning the WBO title after beating Filipino Arthur Villanueva by a unanimous points decision in England in April.
The bout was initially billed as a mandatory title for the right to challenge Marlon Tapales, who is also from the Philippines, but the clash was elevated to an interim title contest when Tapales forfeited the belt after his fight against Japanese Shohei Omori.
When Omori was stopped by Tapales in the 11th round, Last Born was automatically elevated to become a full WBO titleholder.
Now the WBO has mandated Argentinian Omar Narváez to slug it out against Russian Nikolai Potapov in August.
This gives Last Born a chance to take an interim fight before the mandatory berth has been filled, which is why he is arranging the voluntary defence.
Gonya, who is ranked fourth, fits the bill as a possible contender for Last Born’s diadem.
Tengimfene said preliminary talks between himself and Gonya’s promoter Thulani Magudulela were ongoing, adding that the “bout won’t come cheap for the champion” if it takes place.
He said it would be ideal for his charge to be paid in US dollars when he fights at home.
Magudulela said they were negotiating to have the fight staged in KwaZulu-Natal.
“It would be great if the fight could be held in Gonya’s home province, where he enjoys massive support.
“We are prepared to meet the champion’s demand of a high purse,” said Magudulela.
Tete said he would fight Gonya anywhere if all went according to plan.
“The possibility of this match will depend on how negotiations between the camps go,” he said.
Gonya, who holds the WBO intercontinental crown, said: “I want this fight badly and it will be a great opportunity for me to challenge a fighter of Tete’s calibre”.
A look at the tale of the tape reflects fighters with similar styles as both are southpaw.
Last Born is the more experienced, having had 28 fights, compared with Tiger, whose record reflects 12 bouts in the paid ranks.