It is 12 years since Moruti Mthalane first became a world champion, but Sunny Edwards believes the South African will not have seen what he brings before.
Edwards challenges Mthalane, 38, for the IBF flyweight title in London at York Hall in East London on Friday. This will only be Edwards’s 16th professional fight, while Mthalane will be having his 15the world title fight, if you include his spell as IBO champion that came between his two reigns as IBF champion.
The South Londoner has no intention of changing his style for this fight. He is going to make Mthalane do the chasing.
“He might have faced endless people over a 20-year career, but I am going to give him something he probably hasn’t seen too much,” Edwards said.
“When you change your style because of the person in front of you it is not going to work out too well.
“I’ve taken shots against lower-level opponents because I have not been completely switched on. You won’t see that when I elevate in class. I’m good at staying out of trouble and making it my fight. I’m a lot tougher and have got a lot more heart than people give me credit for too.”
This was also only the second time that Edwards has made the flyweight limit, having weighed three-quarters of a pound inside the limit at Thursday’s weigh-in.
“Weight has never been a problem,” he said. “If anything, I was making weight too easily and that was leading to me cutting corners, because I knew I could. This time I’ve been hyper-professional. I know I can’t cut corners or just rely on my talent because I know the threat I am in with.
“I was a light-flyweight as an amateur, I only boxed at super-flyweight for the opportunities really, not because I had to. It meant I was boxing slightly bigger, slightly heavier people, which I was welcoming. The more I am wary of taking a shot, the more fine-tuned I will
“You shouldn’t get given world titles. I’m in for a tremendously difficult night of work. My job is to set a rhythm and tempo that make it as easy as I can. A lot of people under-estimate my fitness. I am always as fresh in the 12th round as I am in the first. I don’t think there are many boxers in the world with the footwork and reactions that I have got.”
But without the power to stop the South African, Edwards knows he is in for a long night. And he also need one mistake by him might bring the end of his challenge.
“I know I have got to stay switched on, I know I can’t ship too much punishment, because he can genuinely whack in both hands,” Edwards said. “He is also a consummate professional. I know he stays in the gym all year round, I know he is a consummate professional. I don’t think age matters, I’m not praying that he shows a big drop in his level of ability. I know I am getting in with The Ring Magazine No 1, a serious, serious champion. But I always said I want to be the best and am willing to fight the best to prove it. This is just a step in that mindset.”