Boxing

Frank Warren hopes to see Ryan Burnett fight Zolani Tete in Belfast next Spring

Belfast bantamweight Ryan Burnett defeated Zhanat Zhakiyanov at the SSE Arena last month, and could be in line for another unification bout against Zolani Tete
Neil Loughran

FRANK Warren believes a huge unification fight between Ryan Burnett and Zolani Tete can be made next Spring – and the veteran promoter is happy for his man to enter the lion's den at Belfast's SSE Arena to get the deal done.

South African southpaw Tete scored an incredible 11-second knockout against Siboniso Gonya early in Saturday night's card – making history in the process by scoring the quickest-ever KO in a world title fight.

It was a stunning right hook, the first punch thrown in anger, that floored his compatriot not long after the bell.

And almost four hours later, as reporters made their way through to the dressing rooms backstage for Carl Frampton's post-fight press conference, Tete and his family could be seen hunched around a side corridor TV still watching - and delighting - in such a beautiful shot.

“It was a devastating shot,” purred Warren.

“He just turned into him and he was gone before he hit the floor. He's an exceptional talent.”

It was the latest step in the rise and rise of the 29-year-old, who shot to worldwide attention two years ago when he travelled to Liverpool and landed a devastating uppercut on the chin of Paul Butler to snatch the IBF super-flyweight belt away from the Scouser.

Since then Tete has moved up to the 118lb division, winning the WBO title, and is now eyeing up a unification bout with Burnett – saying “let's see who is the king”.

Last month Burnett beat Zhanat Zhakiyanov to add the WBA title to the IBF belt won against Lee Haskins back in June, and Warren was keen to showcase his man in Belfast at the weekend to get the ball rolling on a potential match-up.

“Let's be honest, what we're here for tonight - we want to make the Ryan Burnett fight,” he said in the moments after Tete's stunning victory.

“That's what we want to do. We want to make it here in Belfast. He's here now and we just want to get it on. I'm sure it would sell this place out, get the guys a lot of money.

“Ryan earns well, he [Tete] earns well and fans get the fight they want to see – that's what it's all about. A proper unification fight.

“Ryan's done brilliantly up to now, he's got two belts, this guy's got one. I think he's the number one, Ryan's people probably think he's number one, so let's find out.”

Relations haven't always been the most cordial between Warren's promotional stable and rivals Matchroom, who promote Burnett, but the Londoner insists there are no obvious obstructions to the fight being made for early next year.

“How doable is it? They [Matchroom] can put it on. I want my man to fight, I don't care. I do not care. I know my man's going to win the fight so I don't care”

Asked when he hoped to see Burnett-Tete take place, Warren said: “Spring - March/April.”

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