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Moruti Mthalane ordered to face Masayuki Kuroda

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The IBF flyweight champion has his next challenger set, it appears.

Manny Pacquiao v Lucas Matthysse - WBA Welterweight Title Bout Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

IBF flyweight world champion Moruti Mthalane has been ordered by the sanctioning body to make a defense against mandatory challenger Masayuki Kuroda.

The two sides have until Feb. 6 to come to an agreement before a purse bid is ordered, and Mthalane’s team says they would like to put the fight on in his native South Africa, but are also open to fighting in Japan if the deal is right.

Mthalane (37-2, 25 KO) has been a contender in the division for about a decade now, dating back to his first world title challenge, a loss to Nonito Donaire in 2008. Since then, he’s won 14 straight fights and twice held the IBF 112-pound title.

He first held the title from 2009-2014, when he was stripped for inactivity after refusing to face mandatory challenger Amnat Ruenroeng, with his team citing a low money offer for the bout. He regained the belt in July 2018, beating Muhammad Waseem on the Pacquiao-Matthysse undercard in Kuala Lumpur.

Mthalane, 36, made a defense on Dec. 31 in Macau, beating Masahiro Sakamoto by 10th round stoppage.

Kuroda (30-7-3, 16 KO) is 32 and the reigning Japanese flyweight champion. He’s never fought above the domestic level in Japan, and Mthalane would be a big step up for him on paper.