Moruti Mthalane - One of boxing's best kept secrets

By Bill Tibbs

Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25 KO’s) might be one of boxing’s best kept secrets.

The current IBF flyweight champion is unbeaten in 10 years, a pro for 19, and is just coming off of the 2nd title defense, in his 2nd title run, in an exciting, give and take battle of attrition. The South Africa-residing champion walked into his opponent’s backyard in Japan and left with an impressive UD over rugged challenger Masayuki Kuroda.

In his first title try, Mthalana came up short against future, multiple world title champion (and the naturally bigger) Nonito Donaire in November of 2008. However, he won his first word title a year later in November of 2009 picking up the IBF world flyweight title. He then went on to make an impressive 4 title defenses before adding the IBO flyweight title to his trophy case in 2014.

The champion made 3 defenses of the IBO title before starting his second IBF title run in October of 2017 when he captured the vacant IBF fly belt with a TKO win. He again secured the IBF flyweight title last summer and now has 2 impressive title defenses in the bank.

Despite being 36-years of age, often considered very old for a lighter weight boxer, Mthalane is a well preserved fighter who has taken very good care of himself and is always in exceptional condition. This has allowed him to compete at boxing’s highest level, and maintain his status as a flyweight, through the better part of 2 decades in the sport.

In fact, Mthalane, who has competed in 15 world title fights, and won 14 of them, is putting in his best performances in the sport now and is looking more impressive each time out.

In his last bout, Mthalane won a tough fight over a game challenger who had a huge, home court fan base behind him. And, now he has his sights set on Britain’s WBC champion Charlie Edwards. Mthalane has no problem taking his act on the road and would gladly go to England to face champion Edwards.

Interviewed after the fight, Mthalane put out the challenge to Edwards saying, “I have been waiting for this fight, I am ready, I have been wanting to fight you, let’s unify our titles; I will knock you out”.

Australian-based advisor, Mike Altamura, who works with Mthalane, along with Las Vegas-based, Sean Gibbons, was raving about Mthalane’s recent performance after the bout. Reached in Japan where he was pleased, but again not surprised, by the great performance of Mthnalane,

Maxboxing had a chance to chat with Altamura.

“He really does fly under the radar, under appreciated, a ring technician with a lot of significant wins”, said Altamura. “I feel that he has been lacking the international exposure that he deserves”, he said.

As to what is next, it is clear that Altamura and Mthalane feel it is time to look to other champions for some unification bouts.

“We really feel that he deserves a title unification fight; this is the time. He is well preserved at age 36 but he is finally getting a little bit of attention on is career and his outstanding run as an elite level fighter. He is in his 19th year as a fighter and still at the top of the fly weight division, that is incredible longevity”, enthused Altamura.

Asked if they have anyone in mind and the name of England based, WBC champion Charlie Edwards immediately came up.

“I think the guy we would look at is the WBC champion, Charlie Edwards. I think that is the fight that would shine the most light on their careers, both of them. I’m sure we’ll get the negotiating going in the next few weeks”, said Altamura. “Both fighters have an affiliation with MTK promotions, and I work for the company, so I feel it is something we could put together in-house. We just need to sit down with Eddie Hearn and see what the best opportunity is that’s presented”.

It is also clear that while Mthalane and Altamura have a business relationship, Altamura has a huge level of respect for Mthalane and what he has accomplished; he truly values the opportunity to work with the long reigning champion.

“I definitely feel like, I mean, the last 4 fights have been in different counties, look up his record. There aren’t many fighters that are road warriors like that and we feel this man has earned every opportunity at the highest level”, said Altamura. “I feel like Mthalane, not just as a boxer but as a person, is one of the classiest, most humble and respectful athletes that I ever have had the pleasure of working with. When you have someone like that it makes you want to go out and work hard and do the best deal you can for them to help them succeed”, said Altamura.