Sive Nontshinga was not only was taken a distance for the first time in his career but he was dropped hard, and survived, Christian Araneta's late rally to win their IBF junior flyweight title eliminator at Boardwalk Casino in Gqeberha, South Africa this past weekend.
The 22-year-old had promised to knock out the Filipino but it was he who came close to being knocked out when he was dropped by Araneta's sweeping left in the 12th and final round.
With the clock ticking, Araneta threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visibly hurt local who bought time by holding, pushing and literally wrestling his foe.
The sound of the final bell was met by screams of delight from the few locals who were in the hall owing to Covid 19 restrictions.
While Nontshinga had built up a lead by his jab by circling to the right to avoid Araneta's left, the fight proved to be much closer on the scorecards.
Two judges turned identical 114-113 scores while the third gave the local a 115-112 margin to preserve his unbeaten record but ending his nine bout knockout streak.
The 25-year-old Araneta fell to his second loss in 21 bouts, with both defeats suffered in world title eliminators.
With the win Nontshinga has earned a mandatory challenge to IBF junior flyweight champion Felix Alvarado.
However judging by his performance against Araneta he will be well advised to delay such aspirations and take two or three bouts to get more seasoning.
Araneta's compatriot Jerald Paclar will feel more distraught by his fight outcome against Yanga Sigqibo in a WBO intercontinental junior bantamweight title clash.
The WBO high rated local was on the receiving end of Paclar's onslaught for the better part of the fight although some of the punches were illegal such as the one that hit him on his back and left him writhing in pain on the canvas, where he was given a five minute recovery period.
Sigqibo who appeared flustered and outgunned was again down in the eighth round from a punch that was ruled a low blow.
There were times when he was bum-rushed around the ring without throwing a single punch.
But surprisingly all the judges voted for him with scores of 116-113 twice and 116-112.
Sigqibo was initially scheduled to challenge Nordine Oabaali for the WBC bantamweight next month but the fight failed to materialize.
With the performance he displayed against Paclar one shudders to think what would have happened against Obaali, while it is also understood that styles make fight.