Exclusive: Trainer Colin Nathan's Insights on Nontshinga vs Curiel Rematch for IBF Light-Flyweight Title

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, Colin Nathan, the trainer and manager of Sivenathi Nontshinga, provided insight into The Special One's preparation for his highly anticipated rematch against Adrian Curiel for the IBF light-flyweight title. With the first encounter ending in a defeat for Nontshinga, all eyes are on the South African boxer as he gears up to reclaim his spot at the top of the division.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-02-12

Wade McElwain

7 minutes read

Curiel vs. Nontshinga II

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, trainer and manager Colin Nathan offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the preparations of South African boxer Sivenathi Nontshinga as he readies himself for a pivotal rematch against Adrian Curiel for the IBF light-flyweight title. With the stakes higher than ever following Nontshinga's previous defeat, Nathan's insights shed light on the rigorous training regimen, mental resilience, and strategic adjustments essential for Nontshinga's quest to reclaim championship glory.


In their initial encounter, Adrian Curiel, despite being labelled a massive underdog, delivered a stunning upset against Nontshinga in Monte Carlo. With only four stoppages in his 28-fight career prior to their showdown, Curiel's reputation as a decision specialist didn't foreshadow the explosive outcome that unfolded. Displaying remarkable resilience and tactical prowess, Curiel capitalised on a moment in the second round to secure a knockout victory over Nontshinga, thereby ending an 18-fight decision streak and solidifying his place in the light-flyweight division.

Embracing the Challenge of Defeat

In gearing up for the rematch, Colin Nathan shed light on the meticulous adjustments undertaken during Nontshinga's training camp, affirming, "We've made major adjustments for this contest. Training camp's gone really, really well, he’s pushed very, very hard." 


Nathan also candidly acknowledged the challenges of rebounding from a defeat, stating, "It's never easy losing your unbeaten record, but I've told Sive that you've got to be realistic and if you think that it can't happen, it can." 


Reflecting on past setbacks, Nathan delved into the specifics, acknowledged, "He got caught with a horrible punch... he was potentially a little bit overconfidence, and complacent." 


However, instilling confidence in Nontshinga's abilities, Nathan asserted, "I believe he's got the ability to do it and adjust and obviously correct what he did wrong. There's a lot of adversity that we need to get through, it's more a question of the mental aspect. I believe that he will, he's done it before and he's going to be no different. He'll do it again."

Sive’s Journey through Hostile Territory

In facing the challenge of fighting in Curiel's home backyard of Mexico, Nathan's unwavering confidence in Nontshinga's ability to navigate hostile territory remains resolute. With a steely resolve, Nathan commented, "This is nothing new to us. We’ve been through it before and we’re going to achieve the desired result that we want." 


This declaration of confidence not only serves as a rallying cry but also provides a source of comfort for Nontshinga, who finds reassurance in Nathan's familiarity with such adversarial environments. As Nathan elaborates, "I think it also comforts him to know that I've been in these positions before as a trainer, as a manager, and we pulled off the upset, and that's exactly what we're going to be doing." 


It's worth noting that Nontshinga has prior experience of fighting in Mexico, having clinched the IBF light-flyweight title against Hector Flores in a victorious campaign on Mexican soil. This history lends an additional layer of confidence to Sive's preparation, bolstering his resolve to overcome the odds once more and emerge triumphant in the forthcoming rematch on Curiel's home turf.


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Additionally, Nathan's emphasis on unwavering focus underscores the immense mental challenge that accompanies high-calibre fights like the impending rematch. "Been drilling it into him for weeks now," Nathan asserted, highlighting the relentless preparation required to maintain peak mental sharpness.  


"You can't deviate, and you can't get comfortable," Nathan admonished, emphasising the need for continuous vigilance throughout the entirety of the contest. The demand for mental acuity is relentless, as Nathan stressed, "He has to be switched on for 12 rounds every second of every minute of every round." This unyielding expectation speaks to the herculean task of sustaining concentration amidst the ebb and flow of a championship bout.

The Crucible of International Competition

Furthermore, Nathan's profound insights shed light on the pivotal role of international exposure in shaping the careers of South African fighters. With an unwavering commitment to authenticity and credibility, Nathan articulates the transformative power of venturing abroad to compete on the global stage. "You always gauge how a true manager and trainer is with their athletes when they go abroad," Nathan reflects, underscoring the scrutiny faced by fighters and their mentors in unfamiliar territories. Yet, it is precisely these daunting challenges that offer unparalleled opportunities for growth and recognition. 


Nathan's assertion that "you only get that by taking major risks and with major risks come major rewards" encapsulates the inherent gamble of international competition, a gamble that can yield monumental triumphs or crushing defeats. As Nathan eloquently expressed, the allure of defying the odds and triumphing against adversity fuels his passion for the sport: "I love upsetting odds...going into these territories being booed and pulling off the unthinkable." 


Beyond the confines of the ring, Nathan draws striking parallels between boxing and life itself, highlighting the invaluable lessons of resilience and perseverance learned through both triumphs and setbacks. In this symbiotic relationship between sport and existence, international exposure emerges as a crucible wherein fighters and trainers alike are tested, refined, and ultimately forged into champions.

Nontshinga’s Quest for Redemption

With Nathan's guidance and Nontshinga's determination, the rematch promises to be a thrilling showdown between two formidable fighters vying for championship glory. As Nontshinga steps back into the ring, he carries not only his own aspirations but also the hopes of a nation rooting for him to emerge victorious on the global stage.

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