PORT ELIZABETH – It is totally understandable that Zolani Tete should expect to win big at tonight’s Boxing South Africa Awards in Port Elizabeth.
After all, when fistic fans reminisce about the previous year, it is his one punch demolition of compatriot Siboniso Gonya that they talk animatedly about.
Interestingly though, that short-lived title bout in Glasgow, Scotland is not part of the reasons the man fondly referred to as ‘Last Born’ has two nominations for boxing’s night of the stars at the Boardwalk Casino.
Tete is nominated for both Male Boxer of the Year as well as for Fight of the Year, two categories that will be highly-contested.
For the first gong, the man from Mdantsane in East London faces stiff competition from the popular Kevin Llerena as well as new rising star Thulani Mbenge and Azinga Fuzile.
“I’m very excited that once again I have been nominated for the Boxer of the Year and Fighter of the Year.
“It shows that I have been working hard and everyone in South African recognises my work. So I’m very happy about it and I’m hoping that I will be victorious on the night,” said Tete this week.
Last year, he lost out on the Male Boxer of the Year award to former IBO lightweight champion Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndongeni.
Will he fulfil the bridesmaid’s role again to any of IBO cruiserweight champion Lerena, SA welterweight boss Mbenge or young Fuzile, the current SA, IBF continental Africa and WBC Youth Featherweight champion?
Play second fiddle there and Tete will no doubt be hoping he gets consolation in taking home the Fight of the Year accolades.
And perhaps rightly so for his clash against Filipino boxer Arthur Villanueva was a remarkable affair worthy of being deemed the best. But then again IBO junior-bantamweight champion Gideon Buthelezi’s fight against Angel Aviles and Mpho Seforo’s contest with Thabang Ramagole were also humdingers.
“I think the level I’m fighting at has played a big role in me getting this nomination.
“The kind of person that I am, I have been conducting myself very well and I think people have realised that Zolani deserves to be the Boxer of the Year,” said Tete, who won the 2016 Knockout of the Year award.
And having been the only boxer to make the final short-list for the SA Sports Star of the Year awards, surely Last Born should shine at the awards for his own sport
The awards ceremony will be televised live on SABC 2 at 9.30pm.