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Carl Frampton: Nonito Donaire is my inspiration for my comeback and I think he'll beat Zolani Tete

Carl Frampton embraces Nonito Donaire at the end of their epic 12-round bout in April 2018.
Carl Frampton embraces Nonito Donaire at the end of their epic 12-round bout in April 2018.

By Carl Frampton in the Sunday Life

Two of the nicest guys in world boxing come face-to-face this weekend and I would be surprised if Nonito Donaire and Zolani Tete do not deliver a real spectacle in Louisiana.

The fight is the first of the bantamweight Semi-Finals in the World Series of Boxing, which has given Donaire the opportunity to write an exciting new chapter in his career.

In fact, the way Donaire has defied the critics and to some degree normal boxing logic is genuinely a real inspiration to me.

The man is a multi-weight world champion, been in a lot of wars and after losing to me at featherweight he was able to drop down two weight divisions and become the WBA bantamweight champion at 36.

If that isn't inspirational, I don't know what is.

When I look at my career and the fact I suffered a defeat to Josh Warrington despite feeling so confident, I can take a lot of heart with the way in which Donaire has turned himself around - and I'm not having to drop down two weight divisions like him.

After he had lost to me and I heard he was dropping down from featherweight I thought it would be to super-bantamweight but then he said he was entering the WBSS and I said at the time that if he can do the weight, he will be very hard to beat.

From Ryan Burnett's perspective it was tough to lose his WBA title due to an injury during the defence of his title last November but, at the same time, Donaire was looking very good in the fight, very sharp - you could almost argue back to his old self.

That's what makes this fight so intriguing because we know how good Tete is and he's in his prime at 31 and having not been in any wars. Both guys are well known to the Belfast fans and they each received a great reception on fight night and afterwards around the city.

Donaire and I met up after the fight the next day and have stayed in touch - they're good people and Tete is also a very humble man who does a lot for his family and friends back in South Africa.

They have similar personalities and are two quality fighters so it makes for a very intriguing fight. I expect the bookies will have Tete as the slight favourite but I'm leaning towards Donaire in this one.

WBO champion Tete is very good when a fighter is coming towards him but someone who gives some movement and is a bit cute can give him trouble.

Even former world champion Omar Narvaez who was past his best frustrated him over 12 rounds in the SSE Arena because he just moved away and fought off the back foot.

That turned into a very boring fight just because it seemed that Tete could not adjust and stamp his authority on the fight the way he would have normally done against other opponents

Donaire is very smart and he will be wise to the way Tete likes his opponents to fight and I think his ring craft will be the difference - but you also have to take into consideration that both men can really bang so someone could get chinned.

The winner will go on to face whoever is victorious in the fight between Nagoya Inoue and Emmanuel Rodriguez next month in Glasgow.

That's a really exciting fight and it seems everyone has big punching Inoue down as the clear favourite even though IBF champion Rodriguez is a class act as well. Whoever makes the Final it will be one of the fights of the year and I believe Donaire will be the man coming through from this Semi-Final.

I'm all set for summer

My court case with former manager Barry McGuigan and promotional outfit Cyclone Promotions has been put back to September but that won’t stop me from fighting in the summer.

I think some of my fans were worried that it would push my return to the ring back to maybe the end of the year but as far as I’m concerned there’s no stopping me.

Everything happens for a reason and I’ll just focus on preparing for the opportunity that my team come up with for the summer.

Dream come true to enjoy net gains at Windsor Park

I had a great time at Windsor Park last weekend in the charity match organised by Callum Best for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

My dream of boxing at Windsor came true last summer when I defeated Luke Jackson and it was another dream come true to be able to play on the pitch. As a young boy I was always out on the streets in Tigers Bay hoping one day I would be playing for Northern Ireland at Windsor.

Ultimately that was never going to happen but it was great being able to play and help raise money for such a worthwhile cause.

On the pitch I felt I did alright having not played a competitive game for 16 years. The other celebs had been enjoying themselves the night before so I found myself doing most of the running and at one point it looked like we had four centre forwards and two midfielders.

I hurt my ankle and had to go off but I had to come back on and take one of the penalties — there was no way I was missing that opportunity.

Mind you, I don’t know how it managed to go in against former Linfield goalkeeper Alan Blayney because I didn’t think I struck it that well.

But, to be able to say that I scored at Windsor as well as having won there in a big fight is pretty cool.

Belfast Telegraph


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