by FariedaMay 17, 2019

TRIUMPHANT International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane has hailed world class opponent Masayuki Kuroda for an outstanding performance in their championship clash at Korkuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. on Monday.

The South African veteran pugilist was stretched to a hard fought 12th round unanimous points victory by a tenacious challenger to retain his IBF flyweight world title.

This was Mthalane’s second defence of a title he won in July against Mohammad Wassen in Kuala Lumpur.

The seasoned fighter, who has not been beaten in the past 10 years, said he was impressed by the brave performance Kuroda displayed.

His last defeat was in 2008 when he was challenging for the IBF and IBO belts against Filipino boxing legend Nonito Donaire in Las Vegas.

“I’m ecstatic about successfully defending my crown. It always feels great to come back home with a victory from foreign soil,” he said.

“Our aim was to retain the title, on how the victory should come was not a concern. Everything turned out the way we have planned it. However, I give credit to Kuroda for that sterling performance. It shows that he came to the fight well prepared. Victories against tough opponent encourage me to work even harder everyday.”

The 36-year-old two-time world champion has set his sight firmly on unifying the flyweight division. According to the disciplined boxing star, it has been his dream to be a multiple world champion.

“It has been my dream to be a unify champion. I spoke about it with my management and we will see what the future hold for us. However, if it does not happen, I will continue defending my IBF crown,” he said.

The good news for the hard-working champion is that he will be honoured with a special recognition at the South African Boxing Awards, set to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday.

Boxing SA chief executive officer Tsholofelo Lejaka said: ‘‘I think from a special recognition point, the board applied its mind and was unanimous in that Moruti deserves to be recognised. What he achieved in Kualar Lumpur on the biggest stage to get that upset among or amidst the pressure he had is something exceptional. Here in South Africa, everybody will tell you that Moruti gave us the biggest New Year’s Eve present. He will get that special recognition, said Lejaka.’’


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