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Setback for Nontshinga as unification bid falls flat

Special One’s loss leaves SA bereft of credible world champ

Sivenathi Nontshinga is knocked out by Adrian Curiel Dominguez at Casino de Monte-Carlo on Saturday
Sivenathi Nontshinga is knocked out by Adrian Curiel Dominguez at Casino de Monte-Carlo on Saturday
Image: Getty Images/Mark Robinson

Sivenathi Nontshinga’s dream of unifying the junior-flyweight division was shattered when the 24-year-old boxer who goes by the moniker “Special One” was knocked out in the second round by Adrian Curiel Dominguez in Monaco on Saturday night.

An overhead right ended Nonsthinga’s reign as the IBF junior-flyweight champ. Referee Sparkle Lee did not even count as she waved off the bout.

The official time of the knockout was one minute and 19 seconds. That was Nontshinga’s first loss after a 12 fight winning streak. It was also his first fight under British promoter Eddie Hearn, who staged the tournament with the Casino de Monte-Carlo,

Hearn signed him up last year after winning the world title in Mexico in September last year by a split points decision against Dominguez’ countryman Hector Flores.

The fight in Monaco was Nontshinga’s voluntary defence. Dominguez was the chosen opponent who rated No 12 before the fight.

Nontshinga, from Chicken Farm in the Eastern Cape, defeated Regie Suganob of the Philippines in what was the champion's mandatory defence in East London.

A champion who makes a successful defence against a mandatory opponent gets to chose his foe for the voluntary defence. Nontshinga's camp chose Curiel and the unheralded fighter upset the bookies.

But the warning was issued that Nontshinga should not undermine Dominguez based on his rating because it did not define who Curiel was.

Nontshinga's corner was manned by trainer Colin Nathan and his assistant Thembani Gopheni, who is also the boxer's father, and cut man Bernie Pailman.

His loss means that SA has no credible world champion. There is Gcina “The Eagle” Makhoba from Dundee, who holds the WBF junior bantamweight belt. But that organisation does not form part of the big four – IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO.

Meanwhile, SA-based Congolese Ilunga Makabu was knocked in round three by Noel Mikaelian for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title. It was an attempt by Makabu to regain the belt he lost to Badou Jack by a stoppage in the 12th round in February. 

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