Sunday World

Nontshinga’s shot at title in danger

Travel ban on South Africa by the US could see the fight cancelled

- By Malibongwe Bhido

Internatio­nal Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight challenger Sive “Special One” Nontshinga's camp is worried that the South Africa travel ban by US could put the youngster's world title shot aspiration­s in jeopardy.

The South African boxing prospect is scheduled to challenge the reigning IBF light flyweight champion Felix Alvarado in the US on December 18. The junior flyweight kingpins form part of Golden Boy promotion's tournament.

With US president Joe Biden's government imposing travel restrictio­ns to five southern African countries that include South Africa, it would be impossible for Nontshinga and his team to travel to America for the fight. The US and UK have put SA back on the red zone list after the outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Although President Cyril Ramaphosa has called to his US and UK counterpar­ts to lift the travel bans, it remains to be seen whether Nontshinga and his handlers will be able to travel for the boxer's fight of a lifetime.

The East London boxing camp is crossing fingers that Biden hears Ramaphosa's plea and removes Mzansi from the travel red list. South Africa had just recently been removed from the red zone travel list by some of the European countries.

Nontshinga's trainer, Thembelani Gopheni, said since he heard of the not-sogood news, he has had sleepless nights.

“After the US president imposed the travel restrictio­ns on South Africa, we started to worry. We hope that things can change and we will be allowed to travel to America. If things are going according to our plans, we hope to be in the US 10 days before the fight.

“However, given the current situation we continue with our training programmes as usual. As for the boxer, he is not thinking about the travel restrictio­ns and we at the camp haven't talked to Sive about the situation as we don't want to disturb him.

“Our preparatio­ns have been going well, the boy is hard at training everyday preparing for a tough outing against the champion. I have watched a couple of Felix's fights and we know he is a beast, but we are ready for anything he brings to the ring. Sive has a good supporting structure to feel comfortabl­e going to such a big stage,” said Gopheni.

Well-travelled boxing guru Andile Sidinile and the former WBO bantamweig­ht champion Zolani Tete are supporting Nontshinga in his quest to bring the title home.

We hope that things will change and that we will be able to travel

 ?? /Facebook ?? Sive Nontshinga’s fight against Felix Alvarado hangs in the balance due to US travel restrictio­ns.
/Facebook Sive Nontshinga’s fight against Felix Alvarado hangs in the balance due to US travel restrictio­ns.

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