Babalwa Nonqonqoto has made history as the first Eastern Cape fighter to be awarded the Eastern Cape Female Bantamweight title.
Nonqonqoto took part in the all-female boxing tournament on August 28, beating her opponent Owethu Rula, from Gqeberha, to win the provincial bantam title.
The win means Nonqonqoto has made it back into the rankings and has earned the right to challenge for the SA title later this year.
Nonqonqoto had last participated in a fight in 2018 when she dropped a point decision to former WBF world champion Bukiwe Nonina.
“I was so excited, grateful, and relieved that I won.
“I am happy that all my hard work in preparing for this fight has paid off.
“I was grateful that my prayers were answered and that I didn’t disappoint all those who have supported me and believed in me,” she said.
While her contract prohibits her from disclosing her earnings, Nonqonqoto expressed her plans regarding her boxing career.
“I’ll continue working at my current retail job and to challenge for more fights and higher titles that pay more decently,” she said.
“I don’t mind working hard, because my training for this fight included working around my retail job shift hours.
“Sometimes we had to train twice in the mornings before my shift if I was going to leave work late, or after work and weekends on days that I couldn’t train in the mornings.”
She said her trainer, Phila Mzamo, along with his assistant trainers, had pushed her to reach her limits, even though it was hard work.
“They made sure I had sparring partners even outside the normal gym operational hours since our gym only operated until 5 pm in the evenings.
“They helped me in the mornings and in the evenings to ensure I caught up and was ready in time to fight,” she said.
She was sponsored by Nashua East London and Silver Crown Sports Management for the tournament.