Zolani Tete's well-traveled journey in search of a second title reign appears to have finally paid off.
The former super flyweight beltholder has been assigned a final elimination bout with Philippines' Arthur Villanueva, with the pair of title hopefuls due to collide April 8 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
The bout will come in supporting capacity to an already intriguing show topped by local hero and lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan, who faces Russia's Petr Petrov. Also on the show, Liam Williams and Liam Smith collide in a British title showdown and two-time Olympic Gold medalist Nicola Adams makes her pro debut.
The winner of Tete-Villanueva will become the mandatory challenger to Philippines' Marlon Tapales, the all-action hero who has been idle since winning the WBO bantamweight crown in an off-the-canvas knockout of Pungluang Sor Singyu in their thriller last July.
Tete (24-3, 20KOs) has been chomping at the bit for another belt around his waist ever since having to vacate his super flyweight crown due to injury in 2015. The 28-year old southpaw from Cape Town, South Africa proved himself to be a fierce road warrior, scoring a 10th round knockout of Julio Sanchez Jr. in Mexico in Nov. '13 to earn the right to fight for the vacant 115 lb. crown, which he obtained in a 12-round nod over Teiru Kinoshita in their July '14 vacant title fight in Japan.
His lone successful defense once again came in an opponent's home country, but Tete showed no fear in walking down and eventually stopping former titlist Paul Butler in their March '15 clash in Liverpool, England. The bout formed a business relationship with promoter Frank Warren, having fought his last two bouts in Liverpool after returning home for a pair of stay-busy affairs in South Africa.
“It has always been my dream to fight for another World Title,” said Tete, who hasn't fought since a 7th round knockout of Victor Ruiz last June in Liverpool. “I’m very excited about the fight but I know it is one that I can’t lose if I want another World Title belt around my waist. I want to be known as one of the best fighters in the world and clean up the rest of the belts, but first I have to get my hands on the WBO Bantamweight title and to do that I need to beat Villanueva.
“From what I have seen of him I can tell he’s a strong fighter and hopefully he will put up a good fight against me but Zolani Tete will be victorious on the night. I’m delighted to be returning to the UK. It’s a great feeling and I won’t disappoint my UK fans; I’m going to put on an exciting show like always.”