Bukiwe "Anaconda" Nonina sighed with relief when she was told yesterday that she is still the WBF bantamweight boxing champion.
The 27-year-old boxer from Dutywa in the Eastern Cape, whose career is guided in Venda by trainer Emmanuel Mutavhatsindi, was worried that the WBF championship committee may declare her belt vacant after she lost in an IBF Intercontinental featherweight belt in Denmark two weekends ago.
It is a normal practise by some sanctioning bodies that when their champion loses a fight whether in a title challenge or just a fight, then the belt they hold is declared vacant.
But WBF president Howard Goldberg, former boxing referee and judge, explained that Nonina's belt is simply hers. "She requested permission from us to challenge for another organisation's title and the fight was outside her weight division. Bukiwe is still our champion.
"If she was knocked out in her recent fight, the title would have been declared vacant. But if she'd fought in the bantamweight, which is her division, and lost on points, then the WBF bantamweight title would have been vacated."