Sunny Edwards Takes Down Boxing’s Oldest Reigning World Champion
IBF World Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane is one of the true gems of the sport. At age 38, the warrior from Gauteng, South Africa seems to be fighting better than ever. Nicknamed “Babyface” for his youthful looks, he keeps plugging along knocking off younger fighters who dare challenge him.
He defines the boxing term “a complete fighter”. Whether it’s boxing on the outside, or going to war up close, the champ can do whatever he needs to win. It has resulted in him not having lost in the ring since 2008! Mthalane first won a world title back in 2009 and is a two-time IBF champion at 112-pounds. He is making the fourth defense of his current IBF reign on the road against the UK’s Sunny Edwards at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, England.
While the South African has multiple tools in the chest, Edwards is more of a one-trick pony. The 25-year-old from London, England, likes to use his fast hands and feet to box on the outside.
Can the grizzled world champion once again go on the road and take another fighter to school or will Edwards pull off what would be considered a sizable upset?
STAY ON THE MOVE
Predictably, the challenger opened the fight on the move. Edwards (16-0, 4 KOs) used his faster feet to create distance but did so with discipline. He landed more punches and did a good job of not opening up too much to give the champ an opening to land with counter punches in the early rounds. However, Moruti Mthalane (39-3, 26 KOs) is as cagey and experienced as any fighter in the sport today. He understands that this is a marathon, not a sprint. His goal was to make Edwards work early, walk and eventually chop him down.
Edwards had the better of it through the early rounds of the bout. However, he was fighting while in constant motion. The question became whether the Brit would have the conditioning to fight at this pace for a full twelve rounds? The middle rounds saw the South African start to make his move. He was closing the gap and finding a home for body punches. There was a greater sense of urgency in his attack.
However, the younger man was able to keep his constitution. He bit down in the later rounds, maintaining his early rounds’ strategy of sticking and moving. Essentially, he would land with 2-3 punch flurries and dart away from Mthalane like a thief in the night. It was that way all night long. The stamina was amazing. Even as Edwards was breathing heavily in the corner in-between rounds, he kept up the energy through the round once the bell rang.
Ultimately, the challenger’s tactics were the difference in this fight as the Londoner won by unanimous (118-111, 120-108, 115-113) decision. Surprising many prognosticators, Edwards is now the new IBF World Flyweight champion. This has to go down as a candidate for upset of the year.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.