By Anthony Cocks
IBF flyweight champion Moruti ‘Babyface’ Mthalane 37-2 (25) has hit the ground running after a 26-hour trip from Johannesburg to Tokyo ahead of his world title defence against Masayuki Kuroda 30-7-3 (16) at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo next Monday night.
The evergreen 36-year-old South African arrived on Monday and after a few hours sleep, put in six miles of roadwork at dawn. Later in the day he headed to the Aoki gym where he boxed six rounds on the pads, four on the heavy bag and two rounds of shadowboxing before finishing off his workout with 20 minutes of skipping.
“I feel very good, despite all the travel,” said Mthalane, who remains unbeaten for the past decade.
“I’ve had a great camp with good sparring, so it’s just a matter of staying loose and sharp. I’m very happy to be in Japan, even if the weather is a little chilly.”
Mthalane announced this week that he has officially signed with MTK Africa, a subsidiary of MTK Global, that is headed up by his coach Colin Nathan.
“Since I have joined Colin, my career and life have changed for the better,” Mthalane said.
“When I heard Colin was becoming Head of MTK Africa, it was a natural move for me to sign for MTK Global because they are by far the best management company in the world.”
“I have reclaimed the IBF title I never lost in the ring and now I’m looking forward to great things with my new company.”
Nathan added, “This is another landmark deal and we’re so proud to welcome one of the all-time great South African fighters to MTK Africa.”
“While Moruti’s achievements have been outstanding, we believe there’s so much more to come and the help and backing of MTK Global ensures all his efforts will be channelled correctly.”
“Myself and Moruti are delighted to be working with the best management company in the world and look forward to more success.”
“Unification fights are inevitable and this brings them closer.”