The Special One delivers on promise of world title glory

Nontshinga's TKO against Curiel puts him in boxing history's annals

Sivenathi Nontshinga nails Adrian Curiel with a right hand on his way to scoring a 10th-round stoppage victory in Oaxaca on Friday night.
Sivenathi Nontshinga nails Adrian Curiel with a right hand on his way to scoring a 10th-round stoppage victory in Oaxaca on Friday night.
Image: Melina Pizano/Matchroom

Today will go down in SA's professional boxing history as exceptional because Sivenathi “The Special One” Nontshinga became the first local boxer to lose a world title and reclaim it in an immediate rematch.

The 25-year-old charismatic fighter, whose career is guided by trainer/manager Colin “Nomakanjanai” Nathan, achieved the feat when he pummelled Adrian Curiel into submission in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Nontshinga took his glory in the 10th round to reclaim the IBF junior-flyweight belt in front of 10,000 perplexed Mexicans in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Nontshinga, from the Eastern Cape, lost the belt to Curiel via a second-round stoppage. Nontshinga was bidding for the second defence.

He went to the heart of the Mexican's backyard and took back what he warned last week was rightfully his.

The trouble began when Nonsthinga landed a well-aimed and superbly executed left hook to Curiel's jaw, and wobbled the champion who was saved by the bell in the ninth round.

Curiel came out for the 10th round looking unsteady on his feet.  Nontshinga came back with an avalanche of punches, trapping  Curiel to the ropes, and the rest was history as referee Mark Calo-oy stopped the proceedings. 

The first round saw Nontshinga struggled to repel Curiel’s suffocating attack, and they spent much of the next nine rounds fighting in the pocket and locking their foreheads.

Calo-oy deducted a point from Nontshinga in the seventh round.

Nathan, who has produced many legitimate world boxing champions, said: “I am ecstatic. Playing back and getting the result we wanted and needed for South African boxing.

“History was made tonight and I feel that we made our mark. It is never easy coming into a champion's hometown and winning, but we did that in front of 10,000 Mexicans fans. This is a special moment for The Special One and South African boxing.”

Without blowing his own trumpet, Nathan added: “I think my track record speaks for itself. This has to be one of my highlights and achievements in my career. My game plan and strategy really worked out.”

A statement from Boxing SA reads: “Boxing South Africa extends its heartfelt congratulations to Sivenathi 'The Special One' Nontshinga for winning the World IBF light flyweight championship by dethroning Adrian Curiel via a 10h-round TKO [technical knockout] at his home ground in Oaxaca, Mexico.

“It goes without saying that The Special One has restored the dignity of South African boxing once again. After losing the same title from the same boxer, Sive and his team were confident that the title will come back home, and they did exactly that.

“It gives us great joy for him to be crowned the two-time IBF World Champion as he predicted before the fight. His resilience, dedication, hard work, commitment and focus delivered the second world title for him.

“The 25-year-old has a bright future before him and we are confident that this win will be a motivation for other pugilists in South Africa, who have dreams to be crowned world champions to follow suit.”

Boxing SA stated it was “super proud of this accomplishment as he put the South African flag high in the international stage”.

“We have no doubt that he will continue to defend the title many times and ultimately unify the division.”

The regulator encouraged the media, fans and the fight fraternity to welcome Nontshinga back to the country at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Monday at 10.30am.

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