By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Zolani Tete faces the biggest test of his short career when he meets Richard Garcia from the Philippines in an IBF flyweight title eliminator over 12 rounds at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night. The tournament is presented by Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Promotions. The 21-year-old Tete (12-0, 11 KOs) who fights from the southpaw stance made his pro debut on May 27, 2006 when he stopped Andile Solani in 99 seconds of the first round. He then won his next three fights on first round stoppages before beating Zukile Toko on a fifth round technical knockout.
However, in 2007 he once again scored first round stoppages against Vuyo Toyise and Wiseman Kega before beating Vicky Tahumi from Indonesia on a fourth round technical knockout to win the vacant World Boxing Foundation flyweight belt.
After making successful defenses of the belt against Xolani Ntese who was the first fighter to take him the distance and Francis Miyeyusho he relinquished the belt in September 2008.
In 2009 in he once again did not have to go beyond the first round in scoring wins over Rexon Flores and Anthony Matthias (won vacant IBO Africa flyweight title).
Garcia (20-9-1, 5 KOs) who fights out of Mandaluyong City in the Philippines has far more experience than the South African and despite his rather patchy record has scored wins against some quality fighters like Bernabe Concepcion, Robert Rubillar and the 63 fight veteran Ratanapol Sor Vorapin.
At the moment Garcia, 24, is on a six bout unbeaten streak after having his last three fights in Japan against tough local opposition.
Tete who is ranked at number six in the most recent IBF flyweight rankings must be favored to win against Garcia (ranked at No. 9) who has only won five fights inside the distance and does not appear to have the power to stop his taller opponent.
The winner of the fight will meet IBF champion Moruti Mthalane.
Other bouts: Junior heavyweight, 6 rounds: Ilungu Makabu vs Chonunorwa Gonorendy; Junior bantamweight, 6 rounds: Lesley Sekotswe vs Maurice Mathavhatshindi; Junior welterweight, 6 rounds: Brian Hlope vs Gabriel Phakula; Junior welterweight, 6 rounds: Nthuthuko Memela vs Lebo Leboniswa; Junior middleweight, 4 rounds: Bongani Mlotshwa vs Pfunzo Nduvheni; Featherweight, 4 rounds: Sinethemba vs Tsietsi Moremi.