IBF World Flyweight Champion Moruti Mthalane Reveals the Key to His Success
In boxing, there always seems to be that one world champion who continues to shine and thrive despite their advanced age. Whenever challenged by a hungry young pup, they give them a definitive stiff-arm then proceed to kick butt and take names. From Archie Moore during the 1950s to Azumah Nelson and George Foreman in the 1990s to Bernard Hopkins throughout the 2000s, it never seems to fail. You will find that one old head who can throw a middle finger up to father time. In 2021, that fighter is current IBF World Flyweight champion, Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs). At age 38, the veteran from Gauteng, South Africa is still a top-notch fighter. Nicknamed “Babyface”, the two-time IBF 112-pound champion seems to be fighting better now than at any point of his career. It can be argued he is the best flyweight in the world.
What makes this more astonishing is that he is doing this at 112-pounds. Typically, lower-weight fighters seem to age faster than their larger contemporaries. You don’t see flyweights fighting at this level at his age. In a historical sense, the South African warrior is a true gem.
WHAT’S THE SECRET SAUCE?
So the question is, “how is he able to preserve himself for so long?” During an interview with South African news outlet, The SowentanLive, Mthalane was asked about his staying power. The champion’s answer was open and honest in his response.
“Pain will always be there and felt; I am human. I have been hurt a few times in boxing, but what has helped me is my ability not to show my opponent that he has hurt me. Fortunately, I have not been knocked out.”
For the record, Mthalane’s two defeats, to Nkqubela Gwazela in 2004 and Nonito Donaire in 2008, were by TKO variety. He has never been outright KO’d in his career.
In watching the champ throughout his career, it is more than just a matter of pain tolerance. What makes him a special fighter is the ability to apply his knowledge in the ring. He is one of the few boxers who can fight in all areas of the ring. “Babyface” can go at it successfully in the center of the ring or along the ropes. He is equally adept at fighting on the front or back foot. Moruti Mthalane is a complete fighter that can box your shoes off, or break you down on the inside.
In short, he is a well-rounded, well-schooled, complete fighter. All the seasoning that simmered throughout a twenty-year professional career has cooked into a fighting machine. His hard work and perseverance have paid off in him being the highest-paid flyweight in the sport.
What’s up next for the champion is a March 30 defense of the IBF 112-pound world belt against unbeaten Britain, Sunny Edwards (15-0, 4 KOs). The fight will happen on Edwards’ home turf at the York Hall in Bethnal, England. But does fighting on the road bother the road warrior from South Africa? Not one bit. He not only is looking forward to the challenge, but he is also confident of victory.
“I don’t see him being much of a problem. The title is coming back home.”
When you have been in the game and seen as long as Mthalane, you do not become fazed. For him, it’s just another day at work.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.