By Paul Mason (@PaulMason1986)
For my latest article for World Boxing Wall, I thought I would feature the undercard for Carl Frampton’s homecoming against Horacio Garcia, as this includes two good looking World Title fights at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Northern Ireland’s own Jamie Conlan goes for World Title glory for the first time in a tough assignment against Filipino rising star, Jerwin Ancajas. Zolani Tete makes the first defence of the WBO Bantamweight Title he won In Leicester in April when he meets fellow South African, Ziboniso Gonya . BT Sport and Boxnation are the broadcasters here in the UK. I preview the packed undercard for Frampton’s return.
Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, KO18) v Jamie Conlan (19-0, KO11) For The IBF Super Flyweight Title
Belfast boy Jamie Conlan gets a first foray into World class this Saturday as he meets the highly rated Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF Super Flyweight Title.
Ancajas makes the third defence of a crown he won by outpointing McJoe Arroyo in September last year. He turned professional in July 2009, and his first twelve fights took place in his native Phillipines, where he gained a draw on his record, albeit technical, in his fourth bout against Ervin Yamo. He won his next ten on the bounce, before suffering his first and only career loss, by majority decision to the unheralded Mark Anthony Geraldo via majority decision.
He has since rebuilt impressively. Fourteen straight wins, thirteen by stoppage. The only fight to go the distance was his World Title win over Arroyo in his native Phillipines. Since then he has gone from strength to strength. Jose Alfredo Rodriguez retired on his stool at the end of seven rounds in Macau in January this year, and he then appeared on the massive Manny Pacquiao v Jeff Horn bill in Brisbane in July, stopping Teiru Kinoshita in seven.
Jamie Conlan also turned pro in 2009 following a decent unpaid career spanning over 100 victories. After ten straight wins he won the WBO European Title, stopping the Belgian Benjamin Smoes in seven rounds. Two fights later he picked up the WBO Intercontinental strap, outpointing Jose Estrella in Belfast over ten rounds. Conlan then found a tough test in Junior Granados. Conlan was dropped twice in round seven from body shots, which has definitely been a hindrance throughout his career so far. He managed to come through on the cards in Dublin.
After a routine fourth round stoppage of Adrian Garzon, Conlan was involved in the British Boxing Board of Control fight of the year for 2016, in an up and down thriller with Anthony Nelson at The Copperbox in London . South Shields’ Nelson had been put down in the first round but recovered to floor Conlan in the third. Conlan looked in trouble in round seven, but survived to land the decisive blow one round later, a body shot of his own that Nelson couldn’t recover from .
Two routine wins followed, a second round stoppage of Patrik Bartos, and a shutout eight round points win over David Koos. In his last fight though he survived another scare in a thriller against the tough Yader Cardoza. Cardoza belied his 22-10-1 record to floor Conlan in the eighth round. Conlan also had to survive a cut before prevailing on the cards via split decision at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.
So Conlan gets an opportunity at Ancajas’ Title this Saturday, and although a partisan crowd will roar Conlan on, I feel this chance may have come too soon for the likeable Irishman. I think Ancajas may pour pressure on Conlan and have too much down the stretch. I’m predicting a late stoppage for the Filipino.
Zolani Tete (25-3, KO20) v Siboniso Gonya (11-1, KO5) For the WBO Bantamweight Title
Strangely enough, and only in Boxing, sees a South African derby in Belfast on Saturday when the impressive Zolani Tete makes the first defence of the WBO Bantamweight Title he acquired in April.
In the other corner stands something of a mystery man in Siboniso Gonya, from KwaZulu-Natal.
Tete has been making steady progress since signing with Frank Warren, and I for one would like to see him being stepped up, as he looks a star in the making.
Tete turned over in 2006, and won thirteen straight, twelve by knockout, to set up a tilt against fellow countryman, Moruti Mthalane’s IBF Flyweight Title. The chance came too soon for Zolani, and he was stopped in five rounds.
After two comeback stoppage wins, Tete would suffer defeat again. This time it was an eliminator for the IBF belt, this time at Super Flyweight, but in Juan Alberto Rosas’ back yard in Mexico. Tete was edged out via majority decision for a second career loss. His third loss wasn’t too far away in coming. After one comeback win, he again received an eliminator chance for the IBF Super Flyweight crown. Again in the opponents backyard, this time against Roberto Domingo Sosa in Argentina, Tete was edged out by a point on two scorecards, and winning by one point on the third.
He has since won nine straight contests. After a wild ninth round knockout of Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr in Mexico, where Tete was down in the sixth and had two points deducted for holding, he finally grasped the IBF Super Flyweight Title. Again Tete was the away fighter, and he widely out pointed Teiru Kinoshita in Japan to lift the World Title.
What then put him in the eye of British fight fans was his next fight. He travelled to Liverpool with a crowd expecting to see Paul Butler become a two weight World Champion having won the IBF Bantamweight Crown in his previous fight. Tete didn’t read the script and produced a dazzling display, punctuated by a peach of an uppercut in the eighth round that Butler couldn’t recover from.
Two non-title fights in his native South Africa followed , before Tete was snapped up by Warren, moving up to Bantamweight to stop Jose Gonzalez Santos in seven in Liverpool. The seventh was again the number when stopping Victor Ruiz at the Echo Arena in June last year.
This set up a fight at the Leicester Arena in April against Arthur Villanueva. Initially it was to be an interim WBO Title fight, but was upgraded to the full Title on the day of the fight. Tete won nearly every round to become a two weight World Champion, and makes the first defence against unknown quantity Gonya in Belfast.
Unbelievably, Siboniso Gonya is one of 38 children sired by his father Mzonjani from his seven wives!
He comes to Belfast with a fledgling record, having turned pro in 2011, outpointing fellow debutant Sakhile Shangase over four rounds. Five wins followed before his first and only career defeat, a short notice points defeat against Thabo Sishwane.
Gonya has enjoyed five wins since that reverse. He picked up the WBA Pan African Title by outpointing Onela Qongwana over ten, and defended twice with two stoppage victories over limited opposition.
In his last bout, he picked up the WBO Intercontinental Belt to set up a shot at Tete. He unanimously beat Immanuel Naidjala by one point (twice) and five points on the cards. This suggests his limitations at such an early stage in his career. This leads me to believe that Gonya might be a fighter that will survive until the final bell. For that reason, I can only see a wide points victory for Tete, which will hopefully lead to a bright 2018 for him.
On a busy night in Belfast, Paddy Barnes, Darryll Williams, and a host of Irish talent also feature. I’m looking forward to a cracking night of action.
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