Exclusive: Zolani Tete eyes Carlos Cuadras, rules out Paul Butler
After having to vacate his IBF belt last year, former super flyweight champion Zolani Tete is excited by the prospect of working with new promoter Frank Warren and is confident of capturing his second world title this year.
The South African recently signed a long-term, multi-fight, promotional agreement with the British promoter and joins a famous list of African fighters to have been represented by Warren – including Jake Matlala, Thulani Malinga, Azumah Nelson and Harry Simon.
Tete (22-3, 18 KO) – considered one of the most explosive fighters of the 115lb division – is well remembered in the UK for his knockout victory over Ellesmere Port’s then unbeaten Paul Butler in the first defence of his IBF world title and the 27-year old southpaw is excited about the year ahead.
“I’m delighted to have joined up with Frank Warren and I have no doubt that things will go brilliantly for my career. He has been around the game for a long time and he knows how to get me the best opportunities.
“I was in the UK for the Butler fight and the fans there are the best in the world. They have supported me greatly and I will do everything I can to entertain them over the next three years. I’ve always said I wanted to go back there to fight, so this deal works perfectly for me,” he added.
After defeating Butler back in March, Tete decided later to vacate the IBF world title, but the South African is now hopeful of moving on and becoming a two-time world champion by the end of Spring – with WBC champ Carlos Cuadras his primary target.
“I unfortunately felt I had to vacate the belt and it was simply to do with money. As a world champion I felt I deserved more respect and to earn what other title holders were making, but I was offered a very small amount of money for my mandatory defence – nothing compared to the Butler fight,” he said.
“Now that I am with Warren I shouldn’t have that problem anymore and we are looking to get out four or five times a year. The plan is to become world champion again by June or July and we will take the first opportunity that comes our way.
“There is no particular route at the minute, but I am highly rated by the WBA, WBO and WBC. Ideally, I would like to fight Cuadras for the WBC belt. If he is put in front of me, I know I will be champion again.”
Mexico’s Cuadras (34-0-1, 26KO) has made five successful defences of his belt since winning it in May of 2014. Following on, although Tete has linked up with his new promoter, he has dismissed any talk of any potential rematch with Butler – also promoted by Warren.
“I don’t think Butler would ever want to fight with me again, and I don’t want to take him away from his route, he will go his way and will go mine. I want to support him and see him become champion,” he added.
“I wouldn’t even go to Paul to try and unify. I will let him be the world champion and I can be one to – I don’t think I will ever fight him because we are under one umbrella now.”
Tete is earmarked to make his debut under the Queensbury Promotion banner on the Flanagan-Mathews undercard on February 13.
Matt Horan is a lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123