Moruti Mthalane vs Akira Yaegashi: Fight Preview & Prediction

Moruti Mthalane vs. Akira Yaegashi LIVE on ESPN+ @ 3:00 AM ET

Moruti Mthalane and Akira Yaegashi (right)
Moruti Mthalane vs Akira Yaegashi (right)

Moruti Mthalane will attempt his 3rd defense of the IBF title! 

When: December 23, 2019

Where: Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan

Network: ESPN+

Time: 3AM EST

Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25 KOs) makes the third defense of the IBF World Flyweight title against former three-time, three-division world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16 KOs) in a battle of grizzled hardened vets.

The 37-year-old champion and the 36-year-old challenger have been staples among the lower-weight divisions for the last decade.

Moruti Mthalane

Yes, the champion is up there in age, but he fights like a much younger man. The definition of a seasoned pro, the fighter from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa is quietly one of the most skilled and adaptable fighters in the sport.

The boxing brain built through a 19-year career is his greatest asset. He’s seen it all in the ring and adjusts, adapts, and is fluid like water inside the squared circle.

Equally adept at boxing on the outside or hunting an opponent down, the champ can do whatever is needed to capture the victory. Amazingly, he is performing better now than at any stage of what has been a low-key amazing career.

Keys To Victory: Mthalane

Use his vast array of skills and box. Even at 37, Mthalane still has good legs. Use his jab, footwork and faster hands to set the tone early. He is the better overall boxer and the faster fighter.

Akira Yaegashi

Previously a world champion at Strawweight, Jr. Flyweight and Flyweight, this is one tough dude who is not afraid to fight anybody.

Yaegashi likes to either keep things in the center of the ring in order to pot-shot or step forward to force an opponent back. He’s physically very strong and hits harder than his knockout percentage indicates.

If there’s one consistent aspect about him throughout his career, it’s his determination.

Keys To Victory: Yaegashi

Make this a war. Be clear, Yaegashi will not win a boxing contest. He must find a way to force Mthalane into a phone-booth, knock-down, drag-out fight.

Yaegashi has real power in the left hook. Find a home for a few clean left hooks to the head and body early and often, and things can get interesting.


Mthalane is a year older but is the fresher fighter. Furthermore, the disparity in skill and technique is quite vast.

Yaegashi will be fighting in front of the home crowd. However, that will not fade the champion as he has fought in Japan previously.

Mthalane is just too good and too skilled for the likes of Yaegashi who, in previous fights, looks like he has lost a step. The South African wins this bout by ninth round stoppage.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Michael Wilson 534 Articles
Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for