BONGANI MAGASELA | Nontshinga deserves fight of year gong

But the non-appearance must be blamed on the public, which chose all nominees

13 June 2023 - 08:25
By Bongani Magasela
Sivenathi 'Special One' Nontshinga (L) won the IBF belt against Hector Flores in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Image: Norte Photo Sivenathi 'Special One' Nontshinga (L) won the IBF belt against Hector Flores in Hermosillo, Mexico.

The exclusion of the IBF junior flyweight world title fight between newly crowned champion Sivenathi “The Special One” Nontshinga and Mexican Hector Flores in Mexico on September 22 in the nomination list of Boxing SA’s Fight of the Year category is causing serious reputational damage to the credibility of local boxing awards.

It also casts serious doubt on the integrity of the seven-member board of Boxing SA whose three-year term ends in December.

I doubt that Luthando Jack will be comfortable to be remembered as the chairman whose board ignored the humongous achievement that happened during his tenure.

But it must be put on record that the non-appearance of the Nontshinga v/s Flores fight in the list of nominated fights of the year must be blamed squarely on the public, which nominated individuals in all 15 categories of BSA’s awards.

BSA does not nominate and its awards adjudicating committee – appointed by the board – also has no powers whatsoever to amend nominations made by the public. It deals with what is presented to it by the office of the CEO and it then decides on the top three or five shortlists, and ultimately decides on the outright winners.

But BSA, as the regulator, can include any nominee in any category. That is exactly what I am humbly requesting the board to do here. It is very disturbing that the fight fraternity has been silent on Nontshinga’s bizarre exclusion. But he is at least nominated for the Most-Sought-After Boxer of the Year award. 

The advantage is that this fight falls within the period under review for the nomination, which is April 1 2022 and March 31 2023. There is still time to act because the actual ceremony will take place on June 30.

This fight scooped IBF’s Fight of the Year award during the sanctioning body’s annual convention, which took place in Chicago, US, last week.

The fight Nontshinga won by split points decision had all the attributes required for recognition. Nontshinga was facing a hostile crowd in Mexico with managers Colin Nathan, Thembani Gopheni and Siya Zingelwa as the only three men who believed in his abilities.

They worked tirelessly on his mental strength, making him believe that it was doable. The kid was tested to the fullest and he came up tops.

Nontshinga proved to the world that given equal opportunities, South Africans are equally capable of being counted among the super powers in the boxing space. He flew the South African flag high when all odds were stacked against him and we are proud of the 22-year-old fighter’s achievements.

I rest my case.