Junior flyweight has already delivered a fight of the year contender in 2024. Kenshiro’s lineal title defense against Carlos Canizales set a bar for the division this year, the same way his run atop the division has set a bar for what has been a strong and undersung era. 108 pounds isn’t always an attraction but its highs over the years have been red meat highlights for harcire fans. Classics like Carbajal-Gonzalez and Segura-Calderon stand the test of time and multiple champions from the division have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Kenshiro might join them one day.

The winner of Friday’s big junior flyweight rematch (DAZN, 8 PM EST) can hope to have the chance to either derail or add to his story. Before that, they have to figure out how their story together will end.

Last November, undefeated Sivenathi Nontshinga was flattened by an Adrian Curiel right hand in the second round, a shocking result when considering Curiel has scored only four stoppages in 28 previous starts. Can Nontshinga shake off the effects of his first defeat and regain the IBF belt? Or is Curiel ready to make the spotlight a more permanent address?

Let’s get into it. 

Stats and Stakes

Adrian Curiel

Age: 25

Title: IBF Jr. Flyweight (2023-Present, 1st Defense) 

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’4

Weight: 107 ½ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Mexico City, Mexico

Record: 24-4-1, 5 KO

Press Rankings: #2 3 (BoxRec), #4 (TBRB)

Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0, 1 KO

Last Five Opponents: 77-20-4 (.840)

Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Sivenathi Nontshinga KO2

Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Daniel Valladares L10


Sivenathi Nontshinga 

Age: 27

Title: None

Previous Titles: IBF Jr. Flyweight (2022-23, 1 Defense)

Height: 5’5   

Weight: 108 lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Reeston, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Record: 12-1, 9 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: #5 (BoxRec), #7 (TBRB)

Record in Major Title Fights: 2-1, 1 KOBY

Last Five Opponents: 83-8-6 (.887)

Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Regie Suganob UD12

Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Adrian Curiel KO by 2

The Pick: Even before the knockout, it was clear in the first fight Nontshinga wasn’t going to have an easy time. While taller and longer than Nontshinga, and appearing to be quicker, it was the Mexican who was forcing the fight and landing some very good, quick left hooks inside. Nontshinga was replying with good body shots and landing some nice stuff down the middle but it would have been a long night regardless. The thinking here is the styles will mesh again to make it hard for Nontshinga but Curiel just doesn’t appear the sort of puncher to do this twice. If Nontshinga can shake off the ghosts of the first fight, he is still the more talented fighter and he’s proven his grit in the past. The pick is Nontshinga to win a decision and get his career back on track.    

Additional Weekend Picks

O’Shaquie Foster Dec. Abraham Nova        

Rold Picks 2024: 5-0

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com