Mthalane (39-2, 26 KO’s) makes the fourth defense of his title against youthful Edwards (15-0, 4 KO’s) in London.
Moruti Mthalane, one of boxing’s biggest little men, and one of the sports most talented fighters, defends his IBF flyweight title belt against undefeated Brit Sonny Edwards on April 30 in London.
Mthalane (39-2, 26 KO’s) will be making the fourth defense in his second reign as a world champion against Edwards (15-0, 4 KO’s). Mthalane also won the IBO world flyweight title in 2014 and made 3 defenses of that belt.
Despite being 38 years of age, South African Mthalane fights like a man10 years his junior and shows no signs of wear despite being in his 21st year as a professional fighter. While Mthalane sometimes flies under the radar of the larger boxing audience, he shouldn’t – he is simply one of the most accomplished and outstanding fighters in the game today. For Mthalane, the numbers currently speak for themselves – 21 years, 41 bouts, 39 victories, undefeated in 13 years, 3 world titles and13 world title fight victories.
Since turning pro in 2016, Sutton, England’s Edwards has gone a perfect 15-0 but he hasn’t faced a fighter with the resume and experience of champion Mthalane. However, anyone looking for upsides to Edwards’ title shot might say he has some natural size on Mthalane, a home field advantage as the two will meet in London and Edwards had taken 13 less trips around the sun than Mthalane. Now, whether any of these factors will play out on fight night remain to be seen. Smaller weight fighters tend to age a little quicker than their larger counterparts, however, champion Mthalane has shown no signs of any battles with father time.
In a recent interview, Edwards made it clear he isn’t counting on any breaks come first bell in his first world title shot as he knows he is in for a tough outing.
“Moruti is the most criminally underrated fighter, having not lost in 13 years, and he is a proper, proper threat,” Edwards said. “This is no gimme or easy world title fight. It is very, very far from that. I asked for this fight and, if you look back at press conferences or interviews, you can see that I have wanted it for some time. In my head, this is what was coming to me and it is finally here, and I have got what I wanted.”
And while Edwards may have gotten what he asked for in a title shot against the legendary Mthalane, the champion has no plans on letting go of what he has worked so hard for his whole career.
Maxboxing caught up with Mthalane manager Mike Altamura in Australia who was getting ready to head over to England to meet Mthalane and his team. Altamura, who will be working his champion’s corner with trainer Colin Nathan, know they are in with a slick, motivated fighter and are not taking the challenger lightly.
“He’s a very good boxer, very slick boxer, good feet, slippery movement, very gritty”, said Altamura. “We know he’s been knocked down in a couple of fights and he came back, he is very tough. Very inspired, very motivated. I expect him to bring his ‘A’ game”, he said. “I’m anticipating that whatever we have seen previously, we are going to see the absolute best on April 30. This is everything, it is everything Edwards has been working for. So, we are in no way underestimating what he is going to bring into the squared circle that night”.
Altamura, who along with an outstanding business acumen in the game, is extremely adept at breaking down opponent’s strengths, knows they are in for a fight from a motivated Edwards. But, he feels his champion will leave he ring with his belt.
“I feel confident that Moruti has the skills and strength to gradually walk him down throughout the fight. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but I think with the experience, and the natural strength and punching power, that slowly Moruti will overtake the fight”, said Altamura.
And, Altamura also knows that an impressive win might just expand his champion’s profile in the later years of his outstanding career.
“I think this fight is a great opportunity. This will expose him to a whole new audience. It can be hard for a lighter weight guy, like Moruti, a legendary African warrior. It will introduce him to a whole new audience in the UK, it will be televised in the United States on ESPN. Hopefully it will land a career making opportunity, which is long overdue for him”.