Moruti Mthalane spoke a little and sweated a lot at his send-off in Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of his bid to recapture the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown in Malaysia next weekend.
His trainer-manager Colin Nathan had organised an informal farewell function with the 35-year-old fighter and Boxing SA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka as the main attractions.
Mthalane‚ with 35 wins and two losses‚ will try to lift the vacant belt from Muhammad Waseem‚ a 30-year-old Pakistani boasting an unblemished professional record of just eight wins with a bagful of amateur medals including a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver.
They meet on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s newest welterweight title bid against Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur on July 14.
Lejaka‚ as administrators often do‚ spoke plenty as he wished Mthalane luck‚ pointing out that he would become SA’s 11th reigning world champion‚ joining seven men and three women as holders of various world titles.
But only Zolani Tete‚ the World Boxing Organisation bantamweight champion‚ and Mthalane’s stablemate Hekkie Budler‚ the IBF‚ World Boxing Association and Ring magazine junior flyweight king‚ hold bona fide boxing titles.
Mthalane is looking to join them as the country’s third genuine world champion.
"I will bring home the world title‚" said Mthalane‚ before starting his training which‚ although it did not involve sparring‚ produced plenty of sweat.
Mthalane‚ who flies out with Nathan on Friday‚ is fighting for this IBF title for the third time in his career.
First was November 2011 when he was acquitting himself well against Pacquiao’s fellow Filipino‚ Nonito Donaire‚ when he suffered a cut and lost on a sixth-round technical knockout.
Twelve months later he won the vacant title in Johannesburg‚ and made four defences before being stripped after refusing to defend the belt for what would have been peanuts.
He was inactive for 18 months before winning the International Boxing Organisation flyweight belt‚ which he defended twice before relinquishing it to chase a third shot at the IBF title. Two South Africans had failed to win that same belt before Mthalane‚ Baby Jake Matlala in 1991 and Mzukisi Sikali in 2005.
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