Challenger Masayuki Kuroda was as game as it gets today at Korakuen Hall, but Moruti Mthalane retained his IBF flyweight title with a decision win on scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111 in a very entertaining fight.
Bad Left Hook scored the bout 116-112 for Mthalane.
Mthalane (38-2, 25 KO) was swarmed early by Kuroda (30-8-3, 16 KO), who did good, focused work to the body in the early rounds especially. But by the middle of the fight, the class of the two-time titleholder showed, and he got to the home fighter, cutting Kuroda outside the left eye in the fifth round.
Kuroda, 32, never went away, fighting his heart out until the final bell, but the 36-year-old South African just did the better, cleaner, and more damaging work overall.
If you missed the fight live, it’s a recommended watch, one of the better action fights of 2019 thus far.
With the win, Mthalane makes the second successful defense of the belt he won last July in Kuala Lumpur on the Pacquiao-Matthysse card. This was the second and possibly last chance Kuroda got at a world title, after falling short against Juan Carlos Reveco back in 2013.