IBO bout a boost for KZN
LNational hero Moruti “Babyface” Mthalane will put his IBO flyweight title on the line against tough Mexican challenger Odilon Zaleta at this venue. The feel-good factor for Magudulela is that the bout will bring honour and pride to KwaZulu-Natal as the province will host its second top-class boxing bout in a space of seven months. In March, Mthalane beat Filipino Jether Oliva on points at the same venue to snatch the IBO crown.
The fight will bring glory to the area because of its status as a world championship fight. This bodes well for the ambitious Magudulela who strives against all odds to take boxing back to the people.
The downside of today’s showdown is that most fans will not be able to watch their hero, Mthalane, in action on the SABC.
The public broadcaster’s TV blackout is giving boxing a black eye. The bout will only be beamed live by pay TV channel SuperSport – a luxury that many boxing fans cannot afford.
Magudulela, from Nongoma, a town in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is confident that the boxers will give a good account of themselves during the slugfest.
“Mthalane commands a great following in the province even though he comes from Gauteng. The tournament will definitely be great,” said Magudulela, who was voted best boxing promoter in 2010.
“It’s a pity that many people won’t be able to see the fight live because of the blackout. This is a real challenge, but there’s nothing one can do.”
Mthalane is brimming with confidence and believes he can make a successful title defence.
“Preparations for the fight have gone very well. The Mexican is a banger who comes forward all the time, just like me. But I will be too good for him,” said Mthalane, who predicts a knockout win. Johannesburg-born “Babyface” has a record of 25 wins (16 knockouts), and two losses in 27 professional fights. Zaleta has had 15 victories and four defeats in 19 outings.
Mthalane, the former International Boxing Federation flyweight kingpin, had four successful title fights before losing the crown in January.
His mentor, Nic Durandt, is confident of his boxer’s chances. “The challenger is a tricky customer, but my guy will be too smart. We’ll give fans a good bout and keep the title at home,” said Durandt.
ON GUARD Moruti Mthalane (left) blocks Zolani Tete in their IBF flyweight title fight in October last year. Mthalane defends his IBO crown against Mexican Odilon Zaleta in Durban today