Moruti Mthalane vs Sunny Edwards: Can the Brit dethrone flyweight's feared king?

“Moruti is the most criminally underrated fighter, having not lost in 13 years, and he is a proper, proper threat."

Unbeaten British fighter Sunny "Showtime" Edwards takes a significant step-up in class this coming Friday as he challenges South African world champion Moruti 'Babyface' Mthalane for the IBF world flyweight title at York Hall.

Entering the contest as a slight betting underdog, the unbeaten Edwards (15-0) faces a huge test in the shape of 38-year-old Mthalane (39-2), who remains unbeaten since a 6th round TKO loss at the hands of the legendary Nonito Donaire in 2008.

Indeed, a veteran of 11 world title fights, Johannesburg based Mthalane enters the bout as the favourite having successfully defended his IBF title on three occasions since a swift second round KO of Ardin Diale in 2017.

Having turned pro all the way back in 2000, two-time IBF champion Mthalane first claimed world title honours back in 2008 and, while entering the twilight of his career, represents by far the biggest challenge of Edwards still fledgeling career in the sport.

At the age of 25 and boasting just 15 fights on his record, the London born pugilist has already picked up domestic and international honours at both fly and super flyweight, including the IBF International and Intercontinental straps as well as the WBO International and European titles.

However, he is fully versed in the skills and experience of his opponent and knows that this fight represents a huge step up in class with just four years of professional experience under his belt.

"Moruti is the most criminally underrated fighter, having not lost in 13 years, and he is a proper, proper threat," Edwards claimed. "This is no gimme or easy world title for Sunny - it is very, very far from that.

"He is as legit as they come. A big puncher, 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."

Without having tasted defeat in over 13 years, Mthalane is regarded as one of the top fighters in the sport.

While respectful of his unbeaten opponent, the South African is convinced the title will not be changing hands come Friday evening.

"I know Sunny Edwards very well, I met him in 2018, he's my good friend," Mthalane (39-2, 26 knockouts) told The Ring.

"I know he's still an up-and-coming boxer. He's a little bit awkward; he moves, he switches sometimes from southpaw to orthodox, he's a really good boxer.

"I don't think, to be honest, he's ever fought somebody on my level. I'm ready for the fight. Nothing will stop me defending my title against Sunny Edwards."

Having signed a promotional deal with Queensberry Promotions and Frank Warren, Edwards is expected to make major strides in the coming years and is certainly a live opponent for the hard-hitting South African.

However, Warren is aware of the scale of test facing the unbeaten Brit.

"There can be no doubting that Sunny is up against a top-drawer world champion,".

"Mthalane possesses incredible experience and has beaten the leading guys around his weight, but I hope the timing is right for a changing of the guard at the top of the division.

"It was up to us to recognise this by delivering the world title shot he craves, and that is what we are doing. It will be a special night having Sunny fighting for a world title against a great champion."

While it is often the big guys at the top of the sport who gain much of our attention as fight fans, this flyweight title dust down should prove to be lively and hugely competitive.

Expect Friday fireworks at Bethnal Green.

Where and when?

Edwards vs Mthalane is scheduled for 12 rounds on Friday, April 30th, to be held at York Hall in Bethnal Green.

Where can I watch it?

The bout will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK.

What's on the Line?

Mthalane's IBF World flyweight title is up for grabs in his fourth defence since claiming the title back in 2017.

Where's the value?

A genuine pick-em contest, it's hard to call this clash of youth vs experience.

Edwards is undoubtedly the fresher of the two fighters but Mthalane possesses a wealthy resume and, even at 38 years old, is considered one of, if not the best in his weight class (Julio Cesar Martinez might have something to say about that mind you).

An explosive fighter with 26 KO's on his glittering C.V, Mthalene has stopped six of his last eight opponents but has not fought since a ninth-round TKO victory over Japanese foe Akira Yaegashi in December of 2019.

In contrast, Edwards last fought in August, earning a decision win over Thomas Essomba to retain his IBF International super flyweight title.

Edwards has scored just four stoppage wins from his 15 victories.

Not considered the heaviest of punchers, Edwards may have to box his way to a point decision if he is to emerge as Britain's latest world champion.

Edwards is 5/4 to win the fight via SkyBet and 6/4 to win by decision.

Mthalene is 8/13 to retain his title and 10/1 to win between round 10 to 12. A draw is 20/1.

Who else is on the card?

Unbeaten Northern Irish prospect Michael Conlan (14-0) returns to the ring to take on Romanian Ionut Baluta (14-2) as makes the step up to the super bantamweight division.

Michael Conlan is looking to move into world title contention with victory on Friday night
Michael Conlan is looking to move into world title contention with victory on Friday night

Ranked in the top 10 by both the WBO and WBA, Conlan could be in line for a world title shot should he get past the tricky Romanian who has scored two successive victories over Irish opponents in the shape of David Oliver Joyce and TJ Doheny.

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