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To Moruti Mthalane, age is meaningless

Moruti Mthalane and his trainer, Colin Nathan. Photo by Brian Wysoke
Fighters Network
12
May

Former IBF flyweight titlist Moruti Mthalane ended his near-17-month hiatus from boxing by stopping Genesis Libranza on April 28. The 34-year-old South African was pleased with his return.

“It was a good fight. Genesis Libranza came to the fight undefeated,” Mthalane told RingTV.com. “I thought it would be a tough fight. He tried his best in the opening rounds, throwing everything but my defense was too tight. I believe I was too strong for him and my experience played an important role.

“In the fourth round, I caught (and dropped) him with a body shot. He failed to beat the count and that was the end of the fight, I defended my (IBO) title for the third time.”

Mthalane (33-2, 22 knockouts) had been due to fight last year but, each time, his fights were canceled. “That doesn’t worry me now because finally I got the chance and I won the fight,” he said. “There was no ring rust at all because I’m always in the gym and I was well-prepared, sparring with different sparring partners. I’m looking forward now to getting more fights this year.”



It was Mthalane’s first fight under the stewardship of Colin Nathan, having previously worked with recently deceased Nick Durandt. “I made the changes after retirement of my long-term manager/trainer Nick Durandt,” he explained. “I chose to join Hot Box Gym under Colin Nathan and I don’t regret because it’s the best gym in South Africa. It is comfortable to train there.”

Although 34 is considered old for a 112-pound fighter, Nathan believes that, due to the lack of wear-and-tear on his body, Mthalane still has a world title run in him.

“(WBO beltholder) Zou Shiming is 35; (IBF titlist) Donnie Nietes is 34, (former IBF titleholder) Amnat Ruenroeng is 37 and (former flyweight contender) Juan Carlos Reveco is 33 – turning 34 this year – and these are the guys who are considered to be the top dogs. I think Moruti is aged perfectly next to these guys,” explained the venerable young trainer, “and, based on his last performance, he is like fine wine. Also, bearing in mind, he hasn’t taken a lot of punishment in his career, I would think he is still fresh at this stage of his career.”

The two have worked together since last year. Since then, the heavy-handed South African has sparred with newly-minted WBO bantamweight boss Zolani Tete, among others.

It has helped keep him primed for a return. Nathan is pleased with how Mthalane’s looked in the gym and that he was able to carry that into the Libranza fight.

“I see these young talented kids who come from highly-regarded amateur backgrounds and some youngsters whom are talented professional fighters, who come in and spar with Moruti and I see Moruti systematically break them down,” said Nathan. “He is on another level; he truly is. It’s great for these young guns who learn so much from Moruti.

“My concern was although he looked great in the gym, could you still carry that into a fight? I got my answer. Moruti was just breathtaking.”

Going forward, Mthalane needs to be active, since 2010, he’s been chronically inactive fighting just eight times. He fought only twice in two calendar years in that stretch and has had extended periods of inactivity.

His ability is proven; admittedly it was in 2010 but he stopped countryman Tete in five rounds and then, in 2011, he repeated the result against Johnriel Casimero, who went on to wins belts at 108 and 112 pounds.

Mthalane’s recent win saw him re-enter THE RING Magazine ratings at No. 10. He can expect similar rankings with the IBF, WBA and WBC (the WBO doesn’t rate those who hold the IBO strap, widely regarded as a fringe title), once they release their next rankings.

On the evidence of the Libranza fight,┬áMthalane would still be a tough night’s work for any of the flyweight titlists and Nathan would be only to happy to test that theory.

“Definitely more activity,” stated Nathan when asked of their┬áplans. “I would like to get Moruti back in the ring again within the next three or four months.

“I have emailed the various sanctioning bodies already requesting for them to consider rating Moruti in their Top 10. Also, the IBO has really been amazing to us, granting us an extension, which I am truly grateful for. I honestly believe Moruti can beat any of the big four champions. Where is the contract?”

 

 

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.

 

 

 

 

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