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Knockout loss bursts Nontshinga’s bubble

Dethroned champ takes away crucial lesson

Sivenathi Nontshinga is knocked out by Adrian Curiel Dominguez at Casino de Monte-Carlo on November 4
Sivenathi Nontshinga is knocked out by Adrian Curiel Dominguez at Casino de Monte-Carlo on November 4
Image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing via Getty Images

Like any other sporting champion who has been dethroned, Sivenathi Nontshinga fell into that dark and destructive hole, feeling pity for himself after losing the IBF junior-flyweight world boxing title.

His second-round knockout loss to Mexican Adrian Curiel Dominguez in Monte Carlo last weekend was his first defeat and he could not deal with it.

Nontshinga had been on a 12-fight winning streak since his first professional match in 2017.

The 24-year-old talented fighter from Chicken Farm, near East London, now knows how it feels to be on the losing side.

He has also awoken to the sad reality of boxing being a funny sport where everybody raves about you when you are up but nobody remembers you when you are down.

Nontshinga's name was on everyone’s lips when he reigned supreme as the IBF champ. A lot changed on November 4 when he lost it to Dominguez.

Luckily, he is surrounded by supportive individuals – trainers Colin Nathan and Thembani Gopheni, manager Siya Zingelwa and Rumble Africa CEO Nomfesane Nyatela.

"The past few days have been really hard and I was not ready to face the world,” said the tiny fighter, who had been the only African boxer holding a prestigious title.

"Who am I if greatest fighters of all time – like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis – suffered losses at some point? They came back smarter and stronger to win multiple world titles.”

Famously known as “The Special One”, Nontshinga still believes strongly in his capabilities.

“I will bounce back very strong and the journey is just beginning,” he said. “I want to enjoy time off with my family, consult with my ancestors and give praises to them for my success and prepare for the journey ahead.”

Nontshinga said he knew now that he was also fallible to be knocked down.

“I have been knocking people out and now I know how it feels," he said. "I am happy this setback happened now when I am still young; there is still time to pick up broken pieces and win more world titles.”

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