Moruti Mthalane has a record of 37-2; 25. Photo: Ziphozonke Lushaba

TOKYO – South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane will make the second defence of his IBF flyweight belt in his second reign as champion against Japan’s Masayuki Kuroda at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on Monday.

The 36-year-old veteran Mthalane (37-2; 25) made his pro debut in December 2000, and has a strong claim to being South Africa’s best flyweight ever.

The only losses on his record came against Nkqubela Gwazela (TKO 10) and a controversial cut eye stoppage loss to Nonito Donaire (TKO 6) in November 2008.

At present, he is an on a 10-year unbeaten run, which include 12 IBF and IBO title fights and wins over top fighters like Julio Cesar Miranda, Zolani Tete, John Riel Casimero and Ricardo Nunez.

Sadly though, due to issues outside the ring, he only had one fight from 2014 to 2017 which were possibly in his prime years.

According to the latest IBF ratings, Kuroda is listed at No 4, with the IBF having no fighters listed at 1 and 2.

Kuroda, 32, who has been fighting as a pro since May 2005 and has a record of 30-7-3; 16 is also at the veteran stage and will be having his second crack at a world title. Only one of his losses have come inside the distance.

In February 2013, he lost on a unanimous 12 round points decision against Juan Carlos Reveco (29-1) in a challenge for the WBA flyweight.

He has held the Japanese junior-flyweight title and is the current flyweight champion, scoring wins over capable fighters like Katsuhiko Iezumi, Shin Ono and Takuya Kogawa.

He fought to a draw against Ryochi Taguchi in 2012, who subsequently won the IBF and WBA light-flyweight belts, which he lost to South Africa’s Hekkie Budler.

Kuroda is technically a good fighter but does have a leaky defence at times, having been knocked down on a number of occasions.

Some critics are predicting an inside the distance win for the champion but the durable challenger should have enough to last the 12 rounds against the ageing Mthalane.

The flyweight class has some quality organisation champions which include WBA, Artem Dalakian (Azerbaijan), WBC, Charlie Edwards (England) and WBO, Kosei Tanaka (Japan).

The fight will be shown live on SS211 on Monday afternoon from 1pm to 2.30pm.

African News Agency (ANA)