IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane 37-2 (25) is targeting a unification bout against WBC 112-pound boss Charlie Edwards 14-1 (6) in 2019.
The evergreen 36-year-old South African turned back the challenge of Masahiro Sakamoto 13-2 (9) in 10 dominant rounds at the Wynn Palace Cotai in Macao on New Year’s Eve.
“The last round in particular was just horrible to watch because Moruti was just chipping human flesh off of him,” trainer and manager Colin Nathan told The Ring.
Mthalane paid credit to his opponent but the notorious gym rat was well prepared for the challenge.
“[Sakamoto] tried his best but unfortunately he could not succeed because I was ready for him,” he said. “But I would give the credit to him, he fought all out like the challenger wanting to win the title.”
Next up for Mthalane will be a mandatory title defence against Masayuki Kuroda 30-7-3 (16), the reigning Japanese flyweight champion. After that, Mthalane wants newly-minted titleholder Edwards.
“Before I retire, it will be very much an honour to get a unification, especially the WBC. When I started boxing I wanted to be a WBC champion so Charlie Edwards has got that title that I’ve been wanting for so long,” said Mthalane.
“But at this point in time, I’m still looking to make my mandatory defense. But I’ll be very happy if me and Charlie Edwards can fight for a unification before the end of the year.”
Coach Nathan believes the Mthalane-Edwards fight could be a barnburner.
“I think the match-up could potentially be a classic,” said Nathan. “We have options, naturally. We also have a mandatory looming.”
The 18-year veteran, who is The Ring’s number one ranked fighter at 112-pounds, is still remarkably fresh after half a lifetime in the prize ring.
“It means that age is just a number,” said Mthalane. “I still have the power like I’m still young.”