Yekaterinburg, Russia hosts the second quarter-final of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight season this Saturday as Zolani ‘Last Born’ Tete faces undefeated challenger Mikhail Aloyan
The South African southpaw has received promoter Frank Warren’s blessing to enter a tournament where the eventual winner will emerge with three of the division’s four major belts in tow, in addition to serious bragging rights.
Having been elevated to full champion status after capturing the interim title eighteen months ago, Tete himself is the WBO titleholder at 118lbs.
Already a two-weight World champion after his eighth-round stoppage win over then IBF super flyweight champion Paul Butler in 2015, Tete, unquestionably big for a bantamweight, is blessed with significant natural advantages over most of his bantamweight counterparts in the height and reach departments.
Tete’s mastery in harnessing his physical gifts coupled with his speed and explosiveness not only consolidates his position among the present-day bantamweight elite, but also among the list of all-time South African greats.
With his punching power, he has cultivated a reputation as something of a knockout artist; a perception which only would have been fuelled further by his record-breaking 11-second knockout win over compatriot Siboniso Gonya, last November in Belfast.
Despite the decidedly-less-spectacular nature of his most lacklustre points win over a negative Omar Andres Narvaez in April, Tete is firmly established as a fan favourite in Belfast due to his familiarity with local fans, and will no doubt be salivating at the prospect of potentially fighting Ryan Burnett in an otherwise inconceivable and thoroughly mouthwatering semi-final showdown.
Meanwhile, not much is known about the challenger, who despite amassing numerous medals in an accomplished amateur career, tested positive for a banned substance in the 2016 Olympics and was subsequently disqualified from his silver medal.
Since turning professional, Aloyan – of Armenian extraction but proudly representing Russia – has amassed a record of 4-0 with no knockouts. Whether he possesses sufficient punching power and skills to defeat Tete is a question that surely will be answered on the night.
Ultimately, it therefore remains to be seen whether Aloyan can spring a surprise by capitalising on his home advantage in order to progress into the semi-final.
The second cruiserweight series also commences on the undercard as unbeaten contender Andrew Tabiti – fighting under the Mayweather Promotions banner and trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr – faces similarly undefeated Ruslan Faifer.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________