How’s some Friday world title action sound?
IBF flyweight champ Moruti Mthalane is officially set to defend his title against Sunny Edwards on April 30th, headlining a London card on BT Sport and ESPN+. Mike Coppinger broke the news last week, though the bout was planned for May 1st at the time.
Mthalane (39-2, 26 KO) is in the midst of a >12-year unbeaten streak dating back to a 2008 loss to Nonito Donaire. He’s enjoyed two reigns as IBF flyweight champ in that span; the first saw him knock out the likes of Zolani Tete and John Riel Casimero before he vacated rather than fight mandatory challenger Amnat Ruenroeng for about $4,000. The second began in 2018 with a decision over Muhammad Waseem and includes three consecutive defenses against Japanese challengers, two of them in hostile territory.
Edwards (15-0, 4 KO), a longtime super flyweight, tested the 112-pound waters in 2019 with a win over Rosendo Hugo Guarneros. He went on to win the British super flyweight title and is coming off a solid victory over Thomas Essomba.
“Moruti is the most criminally underrated fighter, having not lost in 13 years, and he is a proper, proper threat,” [Edwards] pointed out. “This is no gimme or easy world title for Sunny – it is very, very far from that.
“I asked for this fight and, if you look back at press conferences or interviews, you can see that I have wanted it for some time. In my head, this is what was coming to me, and it is finally here, and I have got what I wanted.
“Now it is my chance to prove myself, and this will be the best benchmark I could have. I have beaten Olympians and people who have mixed at European and world level, but this is real genuine world level. This is my introduction as I have not been there before.
“He is as legit as they come—a big puncher, with 41 fights, 39 wins, and 26 knockouts. If I go and do this, capture the world title in my 16th fight, nobody can really argue. This will qualify everything I have been saying – if I do it. Moruti is no pushover by any stretch of the imagination; he is a very, very, very good fighter.”
In the co-feature, Rio veteran Michael Conlan (14-0, 8 KO) makes his super bantamweight debut against Romanian spoiler Ionut Baluta (14-2, 3 KO). “Il Capo” enjoyed a breakout 2020 with an out-of-nowhere upset of TJ Doheny and subsequent mauling of David Oliver Joyce; Conlan, who withdrew from a clash with Isaac Dogboe last year due to an ankle injury, will try to avoid being his third consecutive Irish victim.