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Honour for ring veteran 'Baby Face' Mthalane

Mthalane pummels Masayuki Kuroda of Japan on Monday.
Mthalane pummels Masayuki Kuroda of Japan on Monday.

While trainer Colin Nathan says negotiations for his charge - reigning IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane - to be involved in unification bouts will be his priority, Boxing SA will in the meantime honour the 36-year-old veteran with a special recognition award tomorrow.

Mthalane from Lindelani in Durban has shown discipline and dedication to his craft, fighting in one weight division for 19 years. The former SA and IBO holder chalked up the second defence of his IBF strap in Japan on Monday, in what was his 38th victory against two losses.

In his six fights outside SA, Mthalane has lost only once - a technical stoppage in Las Vegas which was caused by a laceration to his eye against Nonito Donaire in 2008.

Since that circumstantial loss, "Baby Face" has been on a 10-year winning streak. Nathan is nominated for the Trainer of the Year award alongside Alan Toweel Jr, Lionel Hunter, Sean Smith and Emile Brice.

BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka confirmed honour plan for Mthalane: "I think from a special recognition point [of view], the board applied its mind and was unanimous in that Moruti deserves to be recognised. What he achieved in Kualar Lumpur (winning the vacant IBF belt) to get that upset [victory] is exceptional..."

Lejaka added that Gladys "Noforty" Tsenene - the first female boxing promoter in SA - Jeff Ellis and Stan Christodoulou will receive Lifetime Achievement awards.

Tsenene will be honoured posthumously after passing away last year. Ellis is a former professional fighter, matchmaker and BSA board member and is currently serving boxing as a promoter under African Ring. He has been in boxing for over 40 years.

Christodoulou has been a fight official since 1963 and has officiated in 242 world championships in all 17 weight divisions around the globe. For his monumental achievements, Christodoulou was inducted to the International Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, in 2009.

The BSA awards take place at Sandton Convention Centre tomorrow night.

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