Moruti Mthalane is back in familiar territory—on the road.
The two-time and reigning IBF flyweight titlist attempts his fourth defense as he faces unbeaten challenger Sunny Edwards (15-0, 4KOs). Both boxers made weight for their scheduled 12-round main event, which airs live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and ESPN+ in the United States from York Hall in Bethnal Green, England.
South Africa’s Mthalane (39-2, 26KOs) weighed 111.9 pounds, while London’s Edwards checked in at a trim and fit 111.3 pounds.
Mthalane, 38, is 10-1 overall in title fights, the lone loss coming in a 6th round injury stoppage to Nonito Donaire in Nov. 2008. Two fights later came his first title win, a 12-round decision over Julio Cesar Martinez. Four successful defenses followed before being stripped of his belt.
The top-rated flyweight reclaimed his old belt with a 12-round unanimous decision win over unbeaten Muhammad Waseem in July 2018. The bout took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s knockout win over Lucas Matthyse to win a secondary welterweight title. The bout was the first of what now marks five straight title fights away from South Africa, coming 16 months after a 9th round stoppage of now-retired former three-division champion Akira Yaegashi in Dec. 2019.
Edwards enters his first career title fight, looking to follow the lead of his older brother Charlie Edwards who previously held the WBC flyweight title. The younger Edwards has fought just once since the pandemic, a 12-round decision over Thomas Essomba last August.
Also on the show, two-time Olympian and 2012 Bronze medalist Michael Conlan (14-0, 8KOs) officially launches his junior featherweight run as he faces Romania’s Ionut Baluta (14-2, 3KOs) in a scheduled 10-round contest. Belfast’s Conlan weighed 121.9 pounds, while Baluta came in right at the 122-pound divisional limit.
Conlan previously campaigned at featherweight before opting to drop down in weight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox