Home Boxing News Sivenathi Nontshinga shines against Adrian Curiel, Sunny Edwards could be next

Sivenathi Nontshinga shines against Adrian Curiel, Sunny Edwards could be next

Sivenathi Nontshinga celebrates his win over Adrian Curiel with Eddie Hearn and Colin Nathan. Photo credit: Melina Pizano/Matchroom

Sivenathi Nontshinga 13-1 (10) proved once against that he is indeed the ‘Special One’ with a 10th round knockout of Adrian ‘Gatito’ Curiel 24-5-1 (5) to regain his IBF junior flyweight title at Auditorium Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, Mexico on Friday night.

The question going in to the fight was whether it was going to be revenge or repeat after Mexico’s Curiel, 25, scored a stunning upset of South African Nontshinga, also 25, last November when he knocked him out cold in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

In the first half of the fight it looking like Curiel was well on his way to victory as he stayed on Nontshinga’s chest and bullied him to the ropes where he could let his hands go on the inside.

Curiel was busier than Nontshinga, but the former champ did have pockets of success himself in close with his heavier blows even when he wasn’t winning the rounds. The challenger faced another setback in the seventh when he was docked a point by referee Mark Calo-oy for reckless use of the head.

Things changed in the eighth round when Nontshinga elected to go long with immediate effect. Curiel suddenly found himself on the end of Nontshinga’s punches after after expending so much energy in the previous rounds, he found it hard to evade the heavy artillery coming his way.

Nontshinga’s trainer Colin Nathan explained the strategy: “He wasn’t expecting us to stay in the pocket and when he tired we went long. And he couldn’t fight from the outside.”

In the ninth round Nontshinga uncorked his lethal left hook, wobbling Curiel. He wasn’t about to let him off the hook in the 10th either, battering the champion to the point where the ropes were the only thing holding him up and forcing referee Calo-oy to administer a mandatory eight count.

It was little reprieve for Curiel. He beat the count but with Nontshinga on the warpath, he simply covered up on the ropes and threw nothing back. Referee Calo-oy was left with little choice but to wave off the contest. The official time was 0:44.

The scores at the time of the stoppage were 87-83 and 86-84 for Curiel and 85-85 even.

“He is a good boxer, but I have fought much better boxers than him,” Nontshinga said after the fight. “So I knew it was just a mistake [that caused the knockout last time].”

For Nathan, who has trained numerous world champions including Hekkie Budler and Moruti Mthalane, sees the victory as vindication for both Nontshinga and himself.

“I am ecstatic. Playing back and getting the result we wanted and needed for South African boxing,” Nathan said.

“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.

“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.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn was quick to start plotting the next move for the two-time world champion.

“If Sunny Edwards can make light flyweight, a chance to become a two-weight world champion, Sunny vs Nontshinga is a big fight,” Hearn told Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel.

“It’s a very good fight as well, Nontshinga has proved himself time and time again.

“I want to see him do that or unify and get those big nights he deserves.”