By Roy Luarca
MANILA, Philippines – Whoever lands the big punch first is likely to emerge the winner of the Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire-ZolaniTete tussle in the World Boxing Super Series semifinal slated on April 27 in a United States venue to be announced later.
That’s because both Donaire and Tete are fearsome knockout artists who can stop their opponents with a single punch.
Fact is Donaire (39-5 with 25 knockouts) owns two Knockout of the Year awards in 2007, against Australian Vic Darchinyan, and in 2011, against Mexican Fernando Montiel.
Tete (28-3 with 21 KOs), on the other hand, boasts an 11-second knockout of fellow South African SibonisoGonya on November 18, 2017 – the fastest ever in a world title fight.
What’s interesting is that Donaire accomplished his twin KOs with a left cross and a left hook, respectively, while Tete, a southpaw, did his with a right hook.
The 36-year-old Donaire, a four-division world champion and 2012 Fighter of the Year, holds the WBA “super” bantamweight belt after his fourth round stoppage of Ireland’s Ryan Burnett in the World Boxing Super Series quarterfinals last November 3 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Tete, 30, is the WBA “regular” bantamweight champion who beat Russian Mikhail Alonyan in another WBSS quarterfinal duel.
Donaire and Tete, who became friends in Belfast in 2018, will be disputing the right to challenge for the WBBS bantamweight title against the winner of the May 18 semifinal between International Boxing Federation champion Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico and WBA regular champion Naoya Inoue.
In the quarterfinals, Rodriguez bested Australian Jason Maloney by split decision, while Inoue halted Dominican Republic’s Juan Carlos Payao in just one round.
Standing 5-foot-9, Tete is taller than Donaire by 3 inches and has a 4-inch reach advantage.
Donaire, however, is expected to compensate with his experience and ring savvy.
Hailed as the first boxer to drop two weight classes and win a title, Donaire believes he’s primed to include Tete among his knockout victims.
Tete feels the same way. – Rappler.com