Former super flyweight champion Zolani Tete returns to the world stage this April, taking on Arthur Villanueva on what’s fast becoming a very intriguing Terry Flanagan-Petr Petrov card. The fight will serve as a final eliminator for a shot at WBO Bantamweight Champion Marlon Tapales.
The WBO currently has Villanueva ranked #1 and Tete #2.
Tete (24-3, 20 KO) broke out with a 2015 knockout of Paul Butler, but has since struggled to get a major fight. A lackluster purse led him to drop his super flyweight title rather than face McJoe Arroyo and he reportedly tried to face WBA interim bantamweight champ Zhanat Zhakiyanov this past summer, although the Zhakiyanov camp denies there being an offer.
Villanueva (30-1, 16 KO) actually fought Arroyo for that vacated title and lost a technical decision in a fairly tepid affair. He made the jump to bantamweight last year with a win over Juan Jimenez that was later determined to be from a headbutt. So he knocked Jimenez out for real four months later, which I respect.
It’s good to see Tete against solid competition again. He’s got freak power for the weight and quality technical skills to deliver it. Hopefully, the winner of this will face Tapales sooner rather than later.