OUR environments shape us for the future and it was no surprise when Bukiwe Nonina donned gloves and challenged opponents pound for pound.
The female boxing champion from Giyani in Limpopo grew up surrounded by boxers. The sweat and testosterone in the family drove her to want to learn more and get involved in the sport.
The 25-year old said her brothers were amateur boxers and her father a boxing coach and a mine worker at Klerksdorp.
He trained youngsters in the Eastern Cape when he was not underground in the mines of the North West.
Seeing the dedication of her family and from the youngsters at her father’s gym, she made a decision to enter the ring.
After completing her matric at the age of 21, Nonina decided to leave East London and joined her father in
She stayed there for some time while learning the trade but her desire to achieve more in life saw her spread her wings and leave the nest.
She relocated to Giyani in Limpopo and found herself a new trainer who would help her ascend to the next level.
Nonina knew the importance of having a qualification to fall back on and she studied Electrical Engineering while training.
“I didn’t want to be trained by my father. I needed a new life at a new place where I can concentrate on my boxing career without other commitments with parents,” she said.
With five fights under her name, Nonina met her coach Emmanuel Muthavhatshimbi, the founder of Giyani Boxing Club in 2013.
She had only lost twice but yearned for more glory. Fast forward to fours, she now has 15 fights to her name with 11
wins, three losses, and one draw.
Speaking of her time in the ring, she proudly said she defended her SA Bantamweight belt five times in a row
and became the rightful owner of the Boxing South Africa Belt.
“I broke records by being the first female boxer to attain such an achievement,” she said.
In 2016, Nonina was named the best female boxer in the country. She followed that with a WBF World title
in 2017 when she defeated eight time world champion Alesia Graff from Germany.
Despite her relative success in the sport, Nonina said boxing is not an easy sport for women in the country
but growing around people involved in the sport made things a bit better for her.
She said the sport has also better equipped her to defend herself against anyone and anything.
Nonina has dreams of fighting more international boxers.
She said she had dreams of challenging Catherine Phiri of Zambia for the WBC World Title.
But now that Phiri lost the tittle to Mariana Juarez, she has now set her eyes firmly on Juarez for the title.