First time outside South Africa

By Ron Jackson

When Zolani Tete defends his WBO bantamweight belt against fellow South African Siboniso Gonya at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Saturday night, it will be the first time two South Africans have contested a world title outside South Africa.

The southpaw Tete (25-3, 20 KOs) from the Eastern Cape is a former WBF flyweight and IBF junior bantamweight champion and has had his last three fights in the United Kingdom winning against Jose Santos Gonzalez (tko 7), Victor Ruiz (tko 7) and Arthur Villaneuva (pts 12) for the interim WBO bantamweight title on April 22 this year.

After Marlon Tapales was stripped of his WBO bantamweight belt for failing to make the weight against Shohei Omori, Vetyeka, 29, was elevated to the full champion.

Gonya, (11-1, 5 KOs) from KwaZulu-Natal made his pro debut in June 2011 and won his first six fights before losing to Thabo Sishwana in October 2014.

After winning three of his next four fights inside the distance he beat Immanuel Naidjala in Windhoek on a unanimous 12 round points decision to claim the WBO Intercontinental bantamweight title.

With this win the WBO have listed Gonya at a rather high number three in their most recent rankings.

The challenger has not fought at the same level as the champion and most critics are predicting a win inside the distance for the taller and more experienced Tete.

The other major organisation champions are WBC, Luis Nery, and WBA/IBF, Ryan Burnett.

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