Sport

Nonina’s ready for IBF title challenge

2019-10-10 19:29

Following her unanimous points decision victory over Flora Macheta last weekend, former South African and World Boxing Federation bantamweight boxing champion Bukiwe “Anaconda” Nonina cannot wait to sink her fangs into María Cecilia Román for the International Boxing Federation bantamweight title belt.

The plans to take Nonina to the world stage were confirmed by her manager Makhosi Ngcoza, who said the negotiations were under way to challenge for the title that is currently held by the Argentinian.

With a record of 21 fights – 16 wins, four losses and one draw – Nonina is one of South Africa’s most decorated female boxers. She became a boxing sensation in 2011 after turning professional while still in high school. She won the South African bantamweight title the same year while in Grade 12.

She defended the title successfully five times, vacating it in 2016. In 2017, she won the WBF title, which she vacated this year. Nonina has won the woman boxer of the year award twice in a row at the SA Boxing Awards.

“I wanted to be a challenger again and I wanted to grow as a boxer,” Nonina said when asked why she vacated the title. “I know I am the best.”

The 28-year-old, who is rated number five by the IBF, says she is fired up to get back into the ring in December. She is now under the stewardship of Ngcoza after she parted ways with long-time trainer Emmanuel Mutav-hatsindi, which saw her train in Limpopo for almost six years and win the WBF title.

“We are auditioning other trainers,” said Ngcoza this week.

He hinted that either Phumzile Matyila or Ncedo Cecina from Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, respectively, may get the job.

He said his boxer needs a trainer to guide her to the world title.

Both boxer and manager expressed their jubilation on how well they have workedtogether since April. In the absence of a trainer, Ngcoza has swapped his management suit for a gym tracksuit, employing new and challenging ways of training. They spend more training time outdoors.

Nonina also has new promoters, Elias Tshabalala and Fanakhe Tshabalala of Fantastic 2 Boxing Promotions, who organised her recent fight.

“I dedicate last weekend’s win to Baby Lee,” she said, referring to the passing of her friend, boxer Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels.

The 25-year-old Jegels was allegedly shot dead by her former boyfriend in August.

Her death devastated Nonina, and she took a break from training for a week.

Born and bred in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape, Nonina later moved to North West with dreams of becoming a Banyana Banyana star, but she was shattered when she failed to make the cut during trials.

Her father Million Nonina, a former amateur boxer, introduced her to boxing in 2010, and she has not looked back. She has also taken the fight outside the ring, raising issues affecting women boxers. She’s inspired to continue in the footsteps of activist Noni “She Bee Stinging” Tenge, South Africa’s first woman world boxing champion.

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October 13 2019