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By Bongani Magasela | Jan 05, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

NONI "She Bee Stingin" Tenge has carved a niche for herself as the first female professional boxer from South Africa to win a world title.

She achieved that feat on December 18 after stopping Gifty Amanua Ankrah from Ghana for the WBF welterweight belt.

The 28-year-old boxer was voted Prospect of the Year in 2007, sharing the accolade with Chris van Heerden.

That in itself made history in the annual awards.

Both her parents died in 2007 and Tenge would love to prove her mother wrong because she was of the opinion that boxing is a man's sport.

Q: Is boxing a male sport?

A: Any male or female can do anything they want to do in life. Boxing is for all who love it.

Q: Are you a lesbian?

A: I cannot answer you straight. I would rather ask you a question, and that is: why is it that men who play netball are not labelled as gays? Every time a woman achieves something, some unwarranted negativity follows. Why?

Q: Why did you choose boxing?

A: I was an athlete, a long-distance runner at school and I achieved a lot. My elder brothers were boxers who reached the professional level.

Q: Would you fight a male boxer?

A: Yes. I train and spar with them. They let loose their power. I take it in my stride and give it back to them.

Q: Do you still have opposition here at home?

A: You will never know. But my gratitude goes to our government, which realised that it cannot decide our fate, but allow us as women to box. Even if I die tomorrow, my name will remain on top.

Q: Is the money good?

A: It will never be good but I'm happy with the purse monies I get.

Q: Why is the money not good? You are a single woman without children.

A: We are a family of two brothers and three sisters and they are all not working. I am the breadwinner in the family.

Q: Do you have a boyfriend?

A: No comment.

Q: Do you ever think of getting married?

A: No comment.

Q: Do you drink or smoke?

A: No.

Q: Who are your sporting heroes?

A: Lennox Lewis (he has my characteristics) and Laila Ali, my role model who showed the world what women can do in this sport. The list is endless if I count South Africans but one person who stands head and shoulders above the rest is Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala. He never gave up during hard times and he ended up winning four world titles.

Q: Who do you regard as the greatest boxer ever?

A: Vuyani "The Beast" Bungu. He defended the IBF junior featherweight title 13 times. He holds the record for the most defences.

Q: What is the most difficult fight you have fought so far?

A: My fourth fight, against Fransisca Mbang from Cameroon on November 11 2007. It was declared a draw after six rounds.

Q: Which car do you drive?

A: None.

Q: Your dream car?

A: XF Jaguar.

Q: How do you relax?

A: I listen to the radio. My favourite station is Algoa FM. I also watch television.

Q: Your favourite soapie?

A: Rhythm City on

Q: Any favourite actor or actress?

A: No one in particular.

Q: Which musician or musicians do you like?

A: Robert Kelly and Siphokazi.

Q: The person you admire most?

A: Nelson Mandela.

Q: Any advice for up-and-coming female boxers?

A: Hard times don't kill.

Give your all in what you aspire to. The road ahead is bright.


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