JOHANNESBURG - Zolani “Last Born” Tete is afraid that his one punch demolition of Siboniso Gonya may rob him of the unification bout he covets so much.
“I doubt that Ryan Burnett will want to come on board after this knockdown,” Tete said on Monday upon arrival from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he defended his WBO bantamweight title.
“This was one of the (quickest) knockdowns that’s ever happened in the whole world. I think I broke the record, within six seconds and that’s the scary part. I think Ryan Burnett’s gonna run away.”
The Irish dual Bantamweight champion - IBF and WBA - was expected to be at the fight to see his future adversary live in action. But Tete says Burnett was nowhere near the SSE Arena.
“He did not show up. I’m sure he’s scared,” Tete chuckled “ But my promoter Frank Warren said he will talk to his (Burnett’s) promoter and they will set something up. Hopefully, by next year March something will happen.”
Yet, with him making quick work of compatriot Gonya to raise his knockout tally to 21 from 26 wins, Tete has no doubt confirmed the generally held notion that he is “an avoided boxer mainly because of his skills” .
Will he have any challengers going forward?
“I don’t know if my challengers will be scared. I’ve got the belt, so they must talk to me. I am up to fight anybody. And I hope that my fight will be here in South Africa. But I will leave that to my promoter and manager.”
Promoter Frank Warren and manager Mla Tengimfene, however, say the next fight could well be in Belfast again.
“The promoter said to us we just have to make it happen in Belfast, with Burnett. He wants us to fight Burnett and no one else.
"He said he’s made an offer to the guy and he will be making another offer and we will fight him in Belfast.”
Yet, Burnett is not the only fighter in Tete’s radar.
“Let’s go for Luis Nery (WBC bantamweight champion). He is prepared to fight us. He wants to fight us. Also Omar Narvaes is the No 1 contender in the WBO after winning an elimination in round seven last month. And he is a former champion. He will be instructed by the WBO to fight Zolani.”
Tengimfene understands though just why it is hard for his charge to get fights.
"One of my friends said to me: ‘Please don’t knock anyone out now. Go for 12 round’. But you can’t take that risk. Zolani is powerful and he is an awkward southpaw, very tall for the division.”
Meanwhile, Gonya has promised to bounce back from the stunning defeat, with his promoter Thulani Magudulela saying that they will work hard at rebuilding the KZN fighter.
“Gonya is still young. Even Zolani experienced the same against Moruti Mthalane. Right now we will go back to the gym and in March he will defend his intercontinental title, maybe four times. Tete promised us he will be moving up to Junior Featherweight, so that gives us the chance for Gonya to fight for the title again.”