WBO bantamweight champ Zolani Tete, who was forced out his April WBSS semifinal against Nonito Donaire due to a shoulder injury, brings good news: he’s back in training, intends to return in the fall, and has his sights on either a unification bout or former WBC kingpin Luis Nery.
“The injury is healing very well and I’ve started training already,” Tete told The Ring. “I believe I’ll be back in the ring in September or October. I have a very good doctor and he wouldn’t say I could fight if there was something he was unsure about.
“I believe my manager (Mlandeli Tengimfene) is in talks with (promoter) Frank Warren right now and whatever they bring to the table, I’ll be ready for it. I want the big fights. I’ll be happy with a title defense or a unification, and I believe the fight will take place in the U.K.”
“I want to face the Inoue-Donaire winner and there’s also Luis Nery. I saw both his fights against Shinsuke Yamanaka and I would love to fight him. He’s No. 1 with the WBC and if he wins that title, then I hope we get the chance to fight. I want to have big fights and that’s what keeps me motivated in boxing. I’m looking forward to the best against the best.”
Tete (28-3, 22 KO) has won 12 straight since a 2012 split decision loss to Roberto Domingo Sosa, winning both the IBF super flyweight belt and the interim WBO bantamweight belt. He was upgraded to “regular” champion when former titleholder Marlon Tapales missed weight against Shohei Omori, a title he’s defended with an 11-second knockout of Siboniso Gonya and decisions over Omar Narvaez and Misha Aloyan. The Aloyan victory serves as a WBSS quarterfinal and was meant to set up a clash with Donaire.
If Tete doesn’t get WBO clearance for one of his dream bouts or takes a get-well fight in the interim, his current #1 contender is, weirdly enough, Joseph Agbeko.