Zolani Tete may make the first defence of his major world title at home against a South African boxer.
This was revealed by his manager Mla Tengimfene after Tete was given an extended period by the WBO before being forced to make the mandatory title defence.
Tete is still basking in the glory of winning the WBO bantamweight title after beating Filipino Arthur Villanueva in England last month.
The fight was initially billed as a mandatory title clash for the right to challenge Marlon Tapales, only for it to be elevated to an interim title bout, when Tapales forfeited the belt at weigh-in in his clash against Japanese Shohei Omori.
When Omori lost via a 11th round stoppage, Tete was automatically upgraded to a full WBO champion, giving him his second major world crown in as many divisions.
Now the WBO is busy sorting out the mandatory position and has already mandated Argentinean Omar Narvaez to face Russian Nikolay Potapov in August.
This frees Tete to take an interim fight in the meantime before the mandatory position has been filled. And the Mdantsane boxer is already making plans to engage in a voluntary defence option.
He is targeting KwaZulu-Natal’s Siboniso Gonya, who is rated fourth for the crown.
Tengimfene said preliminary talks have started between him and Thulani Magudulela who promotes Gonya.
“Yes we have spoken with Mr Magudulela about the fight but nothing has been finalised as yet,” he said. But all indications point to the fight being held in the country with East London a front-runner, unless Magudulela can persuade the KZN government to fund it.”
It would be a perfect opportunity for the provincial sports MEC Pemmy Majodina to finally put her money where her mouth is, having declared her support for Tete to fight at home several times before. Interestingly, Majodina was also in England just days before Tete beat Villanueva to be crowned the champion.
However, the Tete camp will need permission to fight in SA from his English promoter, Frank Warren, who has done a remarkable job of steering the boxer back to the world title.
“Yes it would go without saying that Frank would have to give us a go ahead but as I requested to him when we signed that at times we would want to fight at home I do not see that as a major stumbling block,” Tengimfene said.
Warren, however, may want to put Tete in one of his numerous shows featuring his other world champions with the eagerly anticipated clash between his WBO middleweight champion, Billy Joe Sanders and mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze likely to be event.
This is due to the following Tete commands in England where he has fought four times already with resounding success.