It will be for the first time in 10 years that the Inanda born Moruti Mthalane fights in his home province of Kwazulu Natal. On Saturday 15 March 2014 it will be a bittersweet moment for Mthalane (32) and his handler Nick Durandt as they will be fighting for the first time since September 2012 and the first time in Durban since August 2003. This time Moruti is fighting for the IBO Flyweight belt shortly months after he had relinquished his prestigious IBF belt without a fight. He was not the first fighter under Branco Millenkovic to surrender a title without a fight as did Mzonke Fana and Noni Tenge respectively.
Mthalane’s opponent, Jather Oliva of Philippines has 23 fights, 10 Knockouts, and only 1 loss with 2 draws is ranked number 98 in the world, but ranked 36 by the IBO. On the other hand Mthalane is ranked No 1 by the IBO, and has been inactive the rest of 2013. Mthalane hold a record of 31 fights with 20 Knockouts, and only 2 losses. The numerical difference is as clear that the Pilipino will be lucky to go the distance with a hungrier Mthalane.
Mthalane last tasted defeat in 2008 against Nonito Donaire while his opponent last lost in 2011 to Ulises Solis. Mthalane who is very shy only showed gratitude for his homecoming match when he said on twitter “Can’t wait to fight at home in my home province, last time I fought at home was in 2002!”
The last time he fought in Durban he had a long list of victims but he was still a very young man. The city of Durban printed a huge banner on the bridge to welcome their son. To Mthalane vacating his IBF for the IBO was influenced by many reasons and money was one of them as he will be a million rand richer for climbing the ring on Saturday. For the IBF they requested him to fight away from home for a 100 000 purse which would have been much lesser after tax deductions and payment of his team.
The main supporting bout will be between Christopher Buthelezi and Giovanni Bushby for the South African middleweight title. Christopher Buthelezi is a champion from KwaZulu-Natal and is a veteran with 36 fights, 21 Wins, 9 knockouts, 12 losses and 3 draws. Bushby is from the Eastern Cape and is ranked number 2 by Boxing South Africa. Bushby is a promising prospect with 7 fights, 4 wins, 3 Knockouts, 2 losses and a single draw. He comes from a mixed martial arts background and that might be an advantage for him on the day.
The fight is to take place in the Durban International Convention Centre and will be televised on Supersport 9. The fight is presented by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports and Recreation, in conjunction with Ludonga Promotions.