Mthalane psyched up to reclaim the IBF crown

Moruti Mthalane on his way to become IBF flyweight champion when he outpointed Julio Miranda from Mexico in 2009.
Moruti Mthalane on his way to become IBF flyweight champion when he outpointed Julio Miranda from Mexico in 2009.
Image: BAFANA MAHLANGU

Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane has promised to reclaim the IBF flyweight belt he vacated in 2014 due to the paltry purse money (R120000) he was to earn for his fifth defence against Amnat Ruenroeng in Bangkok.

Mthalane now will oppose South Korea-based Pakistani Muhammad Waseem for the vacant IBF flyweight title on the same bill where Filipino legend Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao will challenge WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse.

The tournament will be staged jointly by Manny Pacquiao, Golden Boy and Top Rank promotions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 15.

Waseem, 30, who has only eight wins with six knockouts is preparing at the state-of-the-art Floyd Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas. He is a former top amateur who boasts a 2014 Asian Games bronze as well as bronze and silver medals from the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"I will bring back home the IBF title. I am going out there for nothing but to fetch it," warned the 35-year-old Mthalane, who is unbeaten in his last 12 fights. He has 35 wins, 24 knockouts against two losses.

"We are about to wrap everything and psyche myself for the big night. It's a big fight in my career. I have gone through a lot of things in boxing and I believe had I not come across them I would be far by now. But, I have dealt with it and now my focus is on this upcoming fight," said the boxer, who is trained by Colin "Nomakanjani" Nathan.

The country's shining stars Ludumo Lamati (SA, ABU and IBF Inter-Continental junior featherweight champion), WBC International featherweight holder Lerato Dlamini and recently crowned WBA Pan African junior bantamweight champion Sikho Nqothole have assisted Mthalane with sparring.

"I mix sparring partners because I want different styles so that I am prepared for anything that Waseem brings to the fight. I have seen some of [his] fights and he is very good.

"That has motivated me to outdo myself in training."

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