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Belfast a possible venue Nonito Donaire v Zolani Tete WBSS semi-final?

Belfast’s hopes of hosting a World Boxing Super Series card looked like they went just when Ryan Burnett’s back did.

If Burnett would have claimed victory in his quarter-final clash with Nonito Donaire he was set to fight in his home town for the first time since he unified bantamweight world titles back in October of 2017.

However, as a back injury flared in the fourth round of his clash at the SSE Hydro with the Filipino legend, Burnett’s WBSS hopes went up in flames along with his world champion status – and any chances of the tournament coming to Ireland looked to be extinguished.

It was a double blow for Irish fight fans. Not only did the countries list of reigning world champions drop from three to two – TJ Doheny and Katie Taylor are the two remaining – but a Belfast card that would have been bolstered by Irish talent looks likely to head elsewhere.

However, the man Burnett would have faced if he progressed to the last four, doesn’t believe that has to be the case.

WBO champion Zolani Tete thinks a clash between him and Nonito Donaire would do well in Belfast and he would love for the fight to play out in the fight capital of Europe.

“I would love to have my World Boxing Super Series semi-final with Nonito Donaire in Belfast,” Tete told the Belfast Telegraph.

“Donaire is a real warrior, he is respected there and I got a great reception when I fought there twice.”

Tete has Belfast previous having twice fought in the city on Carl Frampton undercards over the past 12 months as he and promoter Frank Warren sought to force a unification with Burnett.

Hailing from South Africa, Tete is a road fighter and a WBSS show in his native land doesn’t look likely.

Then there is Donaire who has earned a place in the hearts of Belfast fight fans.

This came initially due to his behavior before, during, and after, his April clash with Carl Frampton and was only enhanced by his classiness around the Burnett bout.

Born in The Philippines but raised in Los Angeles, Donaire has not fought in either home in years and the tournament’s attempts to branch into the U.S. have been met with a somewhat underwhelming response to date.

With all this in mind, a clash in neutral Belfast may be as good a venue as any and would also provide a platform for a number of the city’s pros.

The format of the semi-finals, at present, is undefined.

Six semi-final fights are due to take place across the three weights in play this season – bantam, light welter, and cruiser.

It is not yet known if each semi will headline its own card or whether they will double up – meaning just three cards.

If the semis are indeed doubled up, the chances of a Belfast fight night look slim, with a Japanese fight night topped by the corresponding 118lbs clash between Naoya Inoue and IBF champ Manny Rodriguez being a front-runner.


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