Sivenathi Nontshinga takes on Adrian Curiel hoping to keep and then unify his belt
IBF junior flyweight titleholder Sivenathi Nontshinga will face battle-hardened Adrian Curiel in the chief support to Joe Cordina-Edward Vazquez on Saturday, at the Casino de Monte Carlo, in Monaco.
Nontishinga, rated at No. 2 by The Ring at junior flyweight, has bedded into his role as champion having won the title on the road in Mexico against Hector Flores (SD 12) and then defended his title in front of his own fans in East London against his mandatory challenger Regie Suganob (UD 12) in July.
The 24-year-old is now ready to head back on the road to defend his title against another Mexican.
“I’ll get inside the ring and defend my title,” Nontshinga (12-0, 9 knockouts) proclaimed. “He’s a good boxer, he’s not that smart, he puts pressure. I respect him just like any other fighter. I don’t underestimate him. I have worked to my capabilities and worked so hard. Come November 4, I’ll get inside the square and defend my title again.”
Nontshinga welcomes the opportunity to fight in one of the most select places in the world and hopes to impress them with his skills.
“Having a strong team behind me, backing me up, I’m not under pressure at all,” he said. “I’m ready, fit, mentally, physically, spiritually.
“I can’t wait, it’s such a big bill, being the main support to Joe Cordina, is such a great feeling. He is one of my favorite fighters around the globe. I give credit to Matchroom making it happen for me. It’s going to be different but I’m such a person, who loves challenges. I don’t freeze on big stages. Lets give people in Monaco a night to remember.”
Having won the title last year, Nontshinga’s team were able to host him for his first world title defense, which was a great honor for the humble titleholder.
“I have always wanted to give back. When I got the title I said to myself, I’ve always wanted to go back and defend my title at home in front of my people,” he explained. “I started everything with them, they were there since Day 1, buying tickets to go and watch me since I was a young kid. I felt they deserved it.
“The atmosphere was crazy, singing and celebrating. Regie Suganob was a good boxer, a tough one but we stuck to our game plan and my ability to take instructions [from my corner] made me a great champion that night.”
Nonshinga is from the same camp as former two-division titleholder Hekkie Budler. The young champion has long admired one of the South Africa’s modern day greats and hopes to further emulate him.
“He’s a great big brother, he’s a great role model, I grew up looking at him and still look up to him even now but it’s time for the young blood to take over,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from him. I remember when I was preparing for Hector Flores he was there, when I was preparing for Regie Suganob, he was there helping me out and then I came back immediately to camp to help him out so that he can be the best version of himself when he was up against (Ring champ and WBA/WBC titleholder) Kenshiro (Teraji). Now if I have to get in the picture and take over why not.”
To ascend to that level he will have to not only get past Curiel but look to unify his titles. Victory here would potentially open up those doors next year.
“It is on my mind each and every day when I wake up and when I go to sleep,” he admitted. “Some day I want to be a unified champion and become the undisputed champion.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about my country and Africa as a whole. I am the only creditable world champion here. I’ve been boxing for 12-years now, I started boxing when I was young, I’m 24-years-old, already had my first defense and gunning for more defenses and more titles. I want to be a multi-weight world champion.
“My dream lies with both of them, let me just defend my title first and then after that whoever comes first and we can do a great show that boxing world won’t forget.”
Curiel (23-4-1, 4 KOs) turned professional in 2016. The Mexican won his first 11 fights before dropping a closely contested fight with future IBF strawweight titlist Daniel Valladares (UD 10). After returning to winning ways he was edged out by novice Sergio Meija (MD 6). “Gatito” battled on but came up short against then unbeaten Joselito Velazquez (UD 10) and future world title challenger Cristian Gonzalez (MD 10). The 24-year-old has rebounded well with seven wins out of eight, the lone blemish coming in the form of a technical draw.
This is a big opportunity for Curiel and he figures to be tough but Nontshinga has the class to win a fairly competitive but clear 12-round unanimous decision.
Cordina-Vazquez, plus undercard bouts, will be broadcast on DAZN at 2:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m. PT. and 7 p.m. GMT.
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Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].