Johannesburg - South Africa’s most celebrated boxer, Zolani “Last Born” Tete, takes his upcoming title defence so seriously that he will have no time to spend with his family.
Instead, the East London boxer will be at Urban Warriors gym in Sandton, Johannesburg, throughout the holidays to keep himself in shape.
Tete will venture into what he refers to as the biggest test of his boxing career by making a mandatory defence of his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) bantamweight title against Argentinian Omar Andrés Narváez.
The bout will take place in London on February 10.
It will be promoted by Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions.
What makes Last Born believe that the match will be tough is that he will face the number one contender for his crown.
Narváez is a veteran with 47 wins, two draws and two defeats from 51 professional bouts.
The 42-year-old Narváez’s impressive record includes being a former WBO flyweight champion.
Tete (29) has captured 26 wins and three defeats in 29 bouts. His remarkable fistic career has seen him finish 21 clashes inside the distance.
“I’ve decided to be with my family only in the Christmas week. Thereafter, it will be back to training in Joburg,” said Tete from his workout base this week.
Tete helped his elder brother Makazole ahead of his super flyweight 10-rounder against Tanzanian Selemani Bangaiza at Mdantsane Indoor Sport Centre in East London last night.
“It will be difficult to not be with my people in East London during the festive break while I’m training for this match. But there is nothing I can do as I have to be in great shape to retain my title,” he said.
Tete made boxing history last month by taking just 11 seconds to floor countryman Siboniso Gonya with his first punch to retain his WBO bantamweight crown at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In so doing, Last Born eclipsed the feat accomplished by Daniel Jiménez of Puerto Rico, who stopped Austrian Harald Geier in 17 seconds in their WBO bantamweight contest in 1994.
Tete’s bout was the shortest world title match so far in the history of the sport. He leads a distinguished class of boxers with remarkable knockout finishes in big contests.
He cannot afford to see his crown fly out of the window during his showdown with the Argentine.
“I’ve studied everything about him. He is a southpaw fighter who was the first boxer from the 2000 Olympics to capture a major world title,” said Tete.
Last Born is optimistic that the sacrifice he will make by depriving himself of the joy of the long Christmas break will bear fruit when he wins.
“I’m determined to make up for not spending quality time with family by beating Narváez in London,” said a confident Tete.