Johannesburg - Bukiwe Anaconda Nonina, the country’s most accomplished female boxer among the current crop, believes her success in the ring has paved the way for her to win the SA Female Boxer of the Year award.
The SA Boxing awards ceremony will be staged jointly by Boxing South Africa, the department of sport and recreation and the SABC at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on January 28. The awards will be staged for the first time after an absence of seven years and will honour boxers and other stakeholders who have excelled in the ring in the past year.
The voting is done by the public.
Rule the roost
Anaconda says she has no doubt that the accolades for the best female fighter will be given to her. This after she became the country’s first female pugilist to defend her national bantamweight crown five times successfully and win the championship belt outright. No female fighter has accomplished such a feat before.
The 24-year-old Nonina, who was born in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape but is now based in Klerksdorp, North West, has been nominated for the honours alongside Sharadene Shinzo Fortuin and Leighandre Baby Lee Jegels.
Fortuin holds the International Boxing Organisation title which she lifted by beating Argentinian Maria Magdalena Rivera in an unanimous decision at Mdantsane Indoor Sport Centre in August last year.
Fortuin lost to Nonina by an unanimous points decision for the SA title in Pretoria in 2013. Jegels is the current SA female super flyweight kingpin.
But Nonina is optimistic that she will rule the roost on the night of the awards.
“I’ve made a mark in boxing by winning the then vacant title in 2012 and defending it five times successfully. This is a great achievement on my part,” said Nonina, who beat Mukondeleli Ndou with a fifth-round knockout in Port Elizabeth to lift the championship belt.
“I believe this is a mean feat considering the fact that no other female fighter has ever achieved this before. I believe I deserve to win this award because all my wins were for the national honours.”
Anaconda said she would be extremely disappointed not to get the nod as she claims her other fellow nominees have not done better than her in the ring.
Nonina was previously trained by her dad, Million Bukiwe, from the amateur ranks until she turned pro in 2011. She joined Giyani Boxing Club in Limpopo in 2013 where her career is currently being moulded by Emmanuel Mutavhatsindi.
“I had seven fights under my dad’s mentorship before I went to Limpopo where I have won all my national championship bouts to date,” said Nonina, who has built a record of 10 wins, three defeats and one draw from 14 professional bouts.
She said she got her nickname from her father while she was still an amateur.
“My dad called me Anaconda because he liked the way I knocked out my sparring partner at training. That name has since stuck with me as my other stablemates also called me that. Now I’m using it in the pro ranks to get inspired and win fights,” she said.
Nonina made two successful defences last year by beating Diana Makumbe on points at the Giyani Community Hall in June before outclassing Simangele Hadebe, also on points, in her last bout at the King Hintsa College Hall in Dutywa in October.
Nonina will challenge German Alesia Graf for the World Boxing Federation (WBF) bantamweight diadem in Cape Town on March 30. This will be the second time she engages in a world title contest. She lost to Zambian Catherine Phiri on a third round technical knockout for the World Boxing Council super bantamweight crown in Lusaka in 2014.
“I’m looking forward to being crowned the WBF champion two months after being voted the country’s best female boxer,” Nonina said.
Million believes his daughter is a good pugilist who is yet to show her class globally by winning a world title.
“I started training her from the amateur ranks in 2010 and she has a bright future in boxing. It will be nice if she is voted the country’s best boxer,” said Nonina senior.
Mutavhatsindi said his charge would win the award.
“It will be great if she wins the award and raises her profile before her next world title contest,” said Mutavhatsindi.
Graf is an experienced campaigner with 29 victories and five defeats from 34 fights.