By Ron Jackson
Zolani Tete has a chance of winning the vacant IBF junior bantamweight title when he fights in Japan this weekend. The South African and unbeaten Japanese Teiru Kinoshita clash in Kobe on Friday night for a belt that became vacant when Japan’s Daiki Kameda moved up a division. It could be an excellent opportunity for Tete, the #1 contender, who has a distinct advantage in punching power. He earned the right to meet Kinoshita when he knocked out former IBF junior bantamweight champion Juan Carlos Sanchez in the tenth round of an elimination bout in November last year.
The 26-year-old Tete, who made his professional debut in May 2006, has a record of 18 wins, with 16 inside the distance, and 3 defeats. He won the World Boxing Foundation flyweight belt when he stopped Vicky Tahumil in the fourth round In September 2007 and defended it twice before relinquishing the title.
His only defeats were against Moruti Mthalane, also from South Africa, who stopped him in the fifth round of a challenge for the IBF flyweight title, and to Alberto Rosas and Roberto Sosa who both beat him on points over twelve rounds in IBF title eliminators.
Kinoshota, 28, is ranked #6 by the IBF and has a record of 19-0-1, with only 3 knockouts. He holds the Japanese super-flyweight title but has never fought for a “world” title. He has also not faced any of the top fighters in the division but is a competent all-round boxer with good technical skills. However, with only three wins inside the distance in 20 fights, he won’t scare Tete.