Mthalane knocks at the door to challenge for IBF flyweight title

Moruthi Mthalane. /Nigel Louw
Moruthi Mthalane. /Nigel Louw
Image: NIGEL LOUW

BSA trainer of the year award winner Colin "Nomakanjani" Nathan says he has always advised his charge Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane to stay positive, continue winning and defend his IBF International flyweight title because good things come to those who are patient.

"The IBF ratings committee has moved him from the No 8 spot to the third position in the flyweights, and he is now right at the doorstep of challenging for the IBF title he vacated in 2015," said Nathan, speaking from Germany where his other charge Ryno "Lion" Liebenberg will challenge IBF Intercontinental super middleweight champion Vincent Feigenbutz on Saturday.

"The No 2 position is vacant. Argentinian Juan Carlos Reveco is rated third. The champion Donnie Nietes from the Philippines will defend against Reveco on February 24.

"A reliable source said if Nietes wins, he said he will vacate the belt because he wants to move up the weight division. That means Moruti might go straight into a title fight in his next fight," said Nathan.

"But if Reveco wins, the IBF's championship committee will order Mthalane to engage in a title elimination bout."

Mthalane vacated the IBF flyweight title in 2015 due to the paltry purse money he was to earn for his fifth defence against Amnat Ruenroeng in Bangkok.

Mthalane - who is also rated No 6 by the WBC - was not available for a comment yesterday because he is in the Ukraine.

His new promoter, Tshele Kometsi of the TK Promotions, said: "We are delighted and grateful to the IBF for this move to rate Mthalane highly. We will wait patiently for the IBF to give us the directive and take it from there."

Mthalane spent the whole of 2016 without a fight until he teamed up with Kometsi who got him back into the ring last year. He retained his IBO belt with stoppages of Genesis Libranza in April; Ghanaian Isaac Quaye in September and Ardin Diale of the Philippines in October.

The 35-year-old warrior from Lindelani in Durban has 24 knockouts in 34 wins against two losses.

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