WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) has been scratched due to a shoulder injury and will not be facing Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) this Saturday night at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Louisiana, in the World Boxing Super Series semifinals.
"He hurt himself and wanted to stay in the fight but couldn't," Ringstar Sports' Richard Schaefer, who promotes Donaire, told ESPN's Dan Rafael after finding out about Tete's withdrawal on Wednesday morning. "But as they say -- the show must go on. When I talked to Nonito he was disappointed but he trained hard and he wants to fight. He is on weight and on schedule. He told me whatever it takes, he wants to fight."
"(Tete) tried everything on site (to stay in the fight) but (his shoulder) deteriorated," promoter Kalle Sauerland, the World Boxing Super Series' chief boxing officer, told ESPN.
Sauerland said Stephon Young (18-1-3, 7 KOs), 30, of St. Louis, who is an alternate for the tournament and was due to face Daniel Lozano on the undercard, will now move into the semifinal against Donaire. The event also includes the WBSS junior welterweight semifinal match between Regis Prograis and Kiryl Relikh.
"It is very sad and disappointing for myself and my team that we have to pull out of the fight," Tete said. "We were looking forward to the fight, but to fight such an incredible opponent like Nonito Donaire you need to be 100 percent. I hurt myself on my right shoulder on Monday when I was doing pads in the evening. I told my team there is something funny in my shoulder, but that it was nothing serious.
"The following day I was doing a light session, but I could feel this thing and when I went bed to bed I couldn't sleep properly. We went to the doctor who discovered tendonitis in my shoulder and he could see it was inflamed. I got some treatment, but the shoulder was still painful. I've been trying my best since to recover from the injury, but I couldn't so we had to make that hard decision."
Fox Sports was first to report the news about Tete.
Donaire's manager and wife, Rachel, said she heard rumors of Tete injuring himself in camp while they were in Las Vegas. She clearly was not happy with how things have transpired.
"Having an injury that close (to the fight), you know if you're going to be able to recover or not. Especially when you leave, when you make that commitment to get on the plane, you know, you know in your heart -- you're either going to step inside that ring or not," she said.
"At that point, on fight week you're not really training hard, you're running, you're sweating, you're trying to make weight."
Early Wednesday morning, Rachel Donaire was conferring with their promoter, Schaefer, and officials of the WBSS to come up with a solution.
"We made the sacrifices," said Donaire, who noted that friends and family had booked flights and hotels to come to Louisiana this weekend. "We've been training for Tete since the second week of November."
Dan Rafael contributed to this report.