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Zolani Tete to face Jether Oliva on Dec. 18

Fighters Network
04
Dec
Defending IBF 115-pound titleholder Zolani Tete tags Paul Butler, who would eventually be knocked out in the eighth round. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

Defending IBF 115-pound titleholder Zolani Tete (left) tags Paul Butler, who would eventually be knocked out in the eighth round. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

 

MANILA, Philippines – Former IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Zolani Tete will look to remain among the top fighters at 115 pounds when he faces Filipino boxer Jether Oliva in a 12-round fight on Dec. 18 at the ICC Hotel in East London, South Africa.

Both the show’s promoter, Ayanda Matiti of Xaba Promotions, and Oliva’s promoter Jim Claude Manangquil confirmed the news to RingTV.com.

Tete (21-3, 18 knockouts) remains the No. 4 ranked 115-pounder in the world by THE RING magazine despite giving up his title earlier this year.



The 27-year-old southpaw won the vacant title in July 2014 with a unanimous decision win over Teiru Kinoshita in Japan, then retained it with an eighth-round stoppage of Paul Butler in England last March.

However, Tete relinquished the title after what he considered to be a paltry offer to face mandatory challenger McJoe Arroyo. Golden Boy Promotions, the only promoter to bid on the fight, posted a bid of $25,000.

Arroyo ended up defeating Filipino Arthur Villanueva in July to win the vacant strap.

Oliva (23-3-2, 11 KOs) of General Santos City, Philippines is no stranger to fighting abroad. The 28-year-old gave a good account of himself in a 2011 unanimous decision loss to IBF junior flyweight titleholder Ulises Solis, and came close to beating former flyweight titleholder Moruti Mthalane, breaking his nose early in a split decision loss last year.

“This will be the last chance for Oliva,” says Manangquil, who promotes Oliva out of the Sanman Gym in General Santos City. “He will try to give everything he got.”

After being stopped for the first time in four rounds by Mexican prospect Luis Nery last February, and having beaten only one fighter with a winning record since Sept. 2013, Oliva is in danger of being relegated to “opponent” status.

“This will be the last chance for Oliva,” says Manangquil, who promotes Oliva out of the Sanman Gym in General Santos City. “He will try to give everything he got.”

“Jether Oliva is not a walkover; he’s a strong fighter” Matiti says.

Matiti adds that, should Tete win, he’ll be in line to fight for the IBF title or the WBO title, the latter of which is held by Japan’s Naoya Inoue, before the end of 2016.

The card will be headlined by Tete’s older brother, unbeaten bantamweight Makazole Tete, who faces compatriot Gideon Buthelezi in a 12-round bout.

Also on the card, junior bantamweight Lwandile Sityatha will look to earn his third win in four fights against a Filipino boxer, when he faces Ernesto Saulong in a 12-round fight.

Sityatha capped off 2014 with wins over tough Filipino boxers Michael Dasmarinas and Edrin Dapudong by split decisions before beating Buthelezi by the same result this past July.

Former two-time IBF junior lightweight titleholder Mzonke Fana, still going at age 42, will face Xolani Mcotheli, who is fighting for the third time since losing to another aging former champion in Malcolm Klassen earlier this year.

Also, Ali Funeka, best known for his tough battles with Nate Campbell and Joan Guzman in 2009 and 2010, will face Ghanaian Gideon Agbosu in a welterweight bout. Funeka is looking to rebound from a fifth round technical knockout loss to unheralded boxer Tsiko Mulovhedzi in July.

 

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.

 

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