TOKYO – South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane produced an outstanding performance to retain his IBF flyweight belt for the second time with a unanimous 12-round points decision over No 4-ranked Masayuki Kuroda of Japan at the Korkuen Hall in Tokyo on Monday.
Judges Neville Hotz and Masakasa Murase both scored it 116-112, and judge Ian Scott had a more realistic score of 117-112.
Mthalane (50.80kg) dominated from the opening round against the rangy and taller Kuroda (50.69kg) as he scored with stinging shots throughout, whereas most of the punches thrown by Kuroda were taken on the gloves and arms of the South African.
A superbly conditioned Mthalane made a confident start through the first three rounds as he scored with left and right combinations to the head.
Kuroda had a better round four and did enough to shade it.
At the end of round five, Kuroda was already showing signs of wear, and his corner had to attend to a small cut on his left eye.
Kuroda was warned to keep his punches up in round eight by referee Mark Nelson in what was a clean fight.
The gutsy Kuroda was punished with lefts and rights to the head and body throughout the rest of the fight, and was badly marked up and bleeding at the end as the champion finished strongly to take the last two rounds.
The 36-year-old Mthalane improved his record to 38-2; 25, and Kuroda’s record dropped to 30-8-3; 16.
The other main organisation champions are Artem Dalakian (WBA, from Azerbaijan), Charlie Edwards (WBC, from England) and Kosei Tanaka (WBO, from Japan).
#AndStill IBF Champion of the world 👊🇿🇦🙌 Moruti Mthalane may be the best ring technician I've ever worked with. Tonight he fought off a tenacious Masayuki Kuroda to defend his world title at the historic Korakuen Hall in Japan. @ColNomakanjani @KnuckleheadSean @MTKGlobal pic.twitter.com/CAPRiAXReR— Mike Altamura (@mjaltamura) May 13, 2019
African News Agency (ANA)