Tonight in Belfast, reigning WBO bantamweight king Zolani Tete may well have made boxing history by scoring the quickest KO win in any world title fight. The South African iced his countryman challenger Siboniso Gonya in just 11-seconds of the opening round. Walking towards his opponent, Tete unleashed a stinging right hook that landed flush, sending Gonya down hard.
Referee Phil Edwards soon dispensed with his count. Gonya, badly hurt, was administered oxygen but was thankfully okay. Southpaw Tete, who has during his career also held the IBF junior-bantamweight crown, is now 26-3(21). Gonya fell, quite literally, to 11-2(5). He had never previously been stopped.
Tete, who believes he is the best bantamweight in the world right now, no doubt expected a much tougher and longer fight, but he has real power for a small man and he sure put this power on display tonight. Okay, Gonya is no monster but he came to fight, he was in top shape and he was expected by many to give Tete a decent fight. Instead, the challenger was caught cold.
29 year old Tete, a familiar figure on UK shores (remember his impressive KO stoppage of Paul Butler back in 2015) is now targeting a unification fight with reigning WBA and IBF champ Ryan Burnett, 18-0(9). Promoter Frank Warren very much wants to make this fight and soon.
“He is one of those special fighters who come along once in a blue moon,” Warren said of Tete. “We are in Belfast because we want Ryan Burnett. If his manager Adam Booth wants to contact me we will make the fight here in Belfast. He [Tete] is the best and Burnett thinks he’s the best, so we’ll see. Let’s give the fans what they want: the best fighting the best. We can do it here in Belfast in March.”
Burnett, who overcame the odds to defeat Lee Haskins to take the IBF title and then Zhanat Zhakiyanov to add the WBA belt to his name in a tough fight in October, is a young man at age 25 and it is possible a number of experts will pick the more seasoned Tete to beat him. It could well be a great fight though. One thing is sure – that fight would last a whole lot longer than tonight’s fight between Tete and Gonya did!