Zolani Tete knocks out Siboniso Gonya with first punch, targets Ryan Burnett
Give this guy a big fight already.
As expected, the superbly gifted southpaw Zolani Tete made easy work of Siboniso Gonya, stopping his fellow South African in the first round to retain his WBO bantamweight title at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Saturday. The official time was 0:11 and that might just be a world championship record.
Tete, who is rated No. 1 by THE RING at 118 pounds behind champion Shinsuke Yamanaka, came roaring out of the blocks and smashed Gonya with a huge right hand. The challenger was out before he hit the canvas.
“Every time I land at punch, it has sting on it,” said Tete (26-3, 21 knockouts) in his post-fight interview with BT Sport in the U.K. “I would love to fight Ryan Burnett. He must come forward and we can do this thing. There must be one king at bantamweight.”
Belfast star Burnett, the IBF and WBA bantamweight titleholder, was in attendance with coach Adam Booth. The pair have shown interest in a unification bout with Tete and judging by Burnett’s back-to-back world title wins over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov, that is not lip service.
“The reason we’re in Belfast is for Ryan Burnett,” said promoter Frank Warren. “I don’t know what his promotional deal (Burnett is aligned to Matchroom Boxing) is like, but Adam Booth is his manager and if he wants to contact me, we’ll make the fight. We’ll make it right here in Belfast. (Tete) will fight him in his front room.”
Whether it’s Burnett next or someone else, Tete is special and deserves a big payday.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.
On the cover this month: THE RING 100